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LADWP to retool Scattergood Generating Station, end once-through cooling

Scattergood Generating Station in Playa del Rey.
Scattergood Generating Station in Playa del Rey.
Molly Peterson/KPCC

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The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power on Thursday breaks ground on a project to upgrade its Scattergood Generating Station in Playa del Rey. 

DWP crews will begin work to replace a nearly 40-year old steam boiler unit with smaller, more efficient generating units at the natural gas-powered plant.

The new units will reduce the amount of air pollutants and greenhouse gases sent into the atmosphere from Scattergood's iconic red-and-white striped stacks. Cleaner air is required by a settlement with regional air regulators.

Scattergood will also eventually end what's called once through cooling. That's when a coastal power plant sucks sea water in to cool its turbines. That process heats up the water, which kills most of the marine life in it. The hot water is then dumped back into the ocean.

State law will soon prohibit once-through cooling, so Scattergood will move to air-cooled equipment. The DWP fought with state regulators for more time to make the switch - and won it. The plan is that Scattergood will no longer use sea water by 2024.