Environmental emissions rules, passed in 2011, require Alabama Power to make upgrades to its facilities. Representatives with the company gave ABC 33/40's Larry Miller an exclusive tour of their Gorgas plant in Walker county.
A baghouse is being constructed that will lower the emission of Mercury and other particulate matter. "We are now 50 percent complete with construction. Almost 90 percent with engineering and we plan to go commercial on December of 2015," said Jackie Blakley, Project Manager.
The EPA says Mercury can cause neurological damage and the presence of other particulate can result in lung damage.
"Air quality in the Birmingham area has improved significantly over the last 20 years. In fact, air quality is probably the best its been in the Birmingham area in at least 75 years."
Nearly 300 contractors are expected to assist the environmental upgrade. The costly work will trickle down to customers who will have to pay a little more for electricity. "There are definitely going to be cost impact over the long run."