Big bang

This photo captures the start of the controlled demolition of the Couch power station Stamps on Friday morning.

STAMPS -- Entergy Arkansas performed a carefully controlled explosive demolition on Friday morning to bring down three key structures at the Couch Plant, which has been retired from service since 2013.

At 11 a.m., a series of strategically placed charges toppled three major structures – two boilers and a smokestack – onto to their sides. The event was part of a 13-month process of demolishing and removing the historic plant.

The Couch Plant is on U.S. 82, just east of Stamps in Lafayette County. The plant is the namesake of Harvey C. Couch, who in 1913 founded the company that would eventually become Entergy Arkansas. Couch, an entrepreneurial legend in his day, was born in 1877 and raised in Columbia County. The Couch Plant was dedicated the same year Couch died, 1943. He is buried 18 miles away in Magnolia Cemetery.

The plant consists of two units. Unit 1, rated at 30-megawatts, was built in 1942 and retired in 2011. Unit 2, rated at 130 megawatts, was built in 1954 and retired in 2013. Both could burn either fuel oil or natural gas.

Except for one office building on the property and a still-functioning substation, all structures will be scrapped and removed from the site over the next several months.

“It’s sad to do away with the plant named after the man who created the company,” said Laura Landreaux, president and CEO of Entergy Arkansas, Inc. “But Harvey Couch was all about progress and building for the future, so I know he’d be proud to see that things are moving forward just as they should.”

Residents near the Couch Plant were notified several days in advance to expect to hear a significant explosion on Friday morning. To ensure public safety, Entergy Arkansas established and secured a perimeter around the blast area.

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