Folks are likely to hear a few of these rumbling Saturday morning across Glynn County, but do not be alarmed. It will only signal the curtain closing on a facility that had kept the lights on in the Golden Isles for nearly 65 years.
Georgia Power’s inactive Plant McManus is coming down. The nine-story building and its adjacent 180-foot-high smoke stack will implode, collapsing amid a series of explosives, carefully placed by the Pettigrew Inc., demolition company. The demolition is expected to begin around 9 a.m. Saturday at the facility, located on Crispin Boulevard off U.S. Highway 341 near Interstate 95.
“It is expected to be loud,” said Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering said.
The public will be prohibited from moving beyond a safety zone established around Georgia Power’s perimeter fence at the 900-acre plant. A response vessel from U.S. Coast Guard Station Brunswick will be stationed on nearby waterways to keep curious boaters from venturing too close.
Plant McManus ceased operating in April of 2015, on the heels of stricter federal Environmental Protection Agency standards. It also was slated for moth-balling in a Georgia Power 20-year comprehensive plan.
“This is just one of our plants in the plans,” said Paulo Albuquerque, Coastal Regional Manager for Georgia Power. “Based on some of the regulations that came out, it was not cost effective to maintain McManus any longer, and we determined at that point that it was time to close.
“There may be multiple booms,” Albuquerque added. “No need to be afraid. We have very good contractors for this job.”
Pettigrew Inc. has an impressive resume, to be sure. More famously, the Franklin, Tenn.,-based company was responsible for the demolitions of Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Cinergy Field in Cincinnati and Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.
The most recent Georgia Power plant that Pettigrew lowered the boom on featured a 1,000-foot-high smoke stack, said John Kraft, a power company spokesman in Atlanta.
In one fashion or another, Plant McManus had been powering Glynn County since 1952, when the first oil-fired unit went online, Kraft said. A second unit was built in 1959.
The two facilities switched to coal-fired operations in the 1960s. Both switched back to oil-fired power generation in 1971, a response to the rising freight costs of shipping coal via railroad, Kraft said. However, the coal ash pond that resulted at Plant McManus is still being excavated to meet new federal environmental protection regulations.
Nine power units generated by diesel fuel combustion turbines remained operational at the Georgia Power complex after the plant’s 2015 retirement from duty.
“It will likely sound like a series thunderclaps or fireworks,” said Kraft, offering yet one more impression of what to expect Saturday.