Commissioning process Statement with regard to recent noise issues
Over the last 10 days, there have been a number of complaints raised by local residents to Mercia Waste Management, and also the regulators, Worcestershire Regulatory Services and the Environment Agency. The complaints relate to noise coming from the EnviRecover Energy-from-Waste facility which is currently undergoing commissioning on the Hartlebury Trading Estate, near Kidderminster.
Investigations into this issue suggest that the source of the noise currently experienced is coming from the steam turbine bypass line. As the electricity generating turbine is yet to be brought into use (expected to be within the next week), the steam raised in the plant boiler has to be diverted around the turbine and channelled through valves and pipes directly to the plant’s condensers. The noise issue stems from high temperature and high pressure steam passing through this configuration of pipes and valves. The steam turbine bypass line is only used whilst the turbine is not being used. Under normal operations when the turbine is in service, it uses all the steam, which means this bypass line is not used and the noise won’t be generated.
Mercia has instigated a noise monitoring programme to assess the impact at identified receptors in the neighbourhood. The monitoring programme will also assess noise at the site boundary.
HZI, the main contractor responsible for construction and commissioning, is reviewing engineering options to reduce the impact of noise close to the source of the emission, which will be implemented immediately if it can be demonstrated to provide useful mitigation in the short term. However, should the commissioning programme continue to plan, HZI expect to start utilising the turbine in week commencing 31st October 2016 and the noise emission from the steam bypass will start to decrease to zero levels within a few days.
Aside from any short term engineering solution to reduce noise from this source, the contractor is aware of the need to provide a permanent solution to address this issue when the plant is restarted after planned or unplanned stoppages.
For other reasons there will be a planned shutdown of the plant this weekend 28th/29th October 2016.
It is important to stress that the current events are of a temporary nature and do not reflect the situation when the facility is fully commissioned. However, Mercia wants to reassure residents that every effort is being made to mitigate the current noise outbreak, and to ensure that a permanent solution is in place for the longer term. The Company is in close contact with the regulators and will continue to keep the community informed through the established Community Liaison Group and via the web site.
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