THE company responsible for a waste-to-energy plant in Exeter have admitted it was “noisier than expected” and work has been stopped as a result.
Viridor Waste Management have confirmed this morning (Thursday) that following several complaints from residents across the city, they are now attempting modifications to quieten the steam blowing process.
Work will now resume on Tuesday with scheduled ten minute blows at 10am and 2pm for two weeks.
The huge Marsh Barton site had been described as sounding like a plane flying overhead on Tuesday with residents across the city complaining they had not been informed.
A Viridor spokesman said: “What happened on Tuesday was that the noise from the steam blowing was much louder than anyone expected.
“What we have done following a number of concerns is we have stopped the steam blowing and are putting in place modifications in place to help quieten future blows.
“This work does need to happen to clean out the tubes of grit, dust and dirt.
“We are pushing the steam through there under high pressure. It is a noisy process but was a lot noisier than anticipated.
“Relative to the noise we were anticipating we had informed local residents. But as it was noisier than we thought we did not go far or wide enough with this. In the time taken with the postponement we intend to send letters to all residents and do more media to get the word out there and we want people to be aware of what is happening.”
Ian Crummack, Project Director at TIRU UK, the company constructing the plant said: "We are very sorry for any alarm caused by these two incidents. On Tuesday, we set two steam blows, which lasted for about 8-10 minutes.
“Whilst it is a perfectly safe procedure that is a vital part of commissioning the plant, the noise was nonetheless extremely loud - far louder than we had anticipated, so we have halted the process.
“This will enable us to talk to the local community, let them know what we're doing so that they are aware, and also make some changes to the process to try and mitigate the noise.
“I must emphasise that process is a one off and when the plant is in operation it will be barely audible beyond the boundary of the facility. However, we do not want to cause any inconvenience to anyone so we are stepping up our communications to ensure more people know what to expect. "
Residents said more should have been done to pre-warn them of the noise.
Brian Fear, 69, of Rivermead Road, said: “It was really loud and sounded like about half a dozen jets taking off. My wife could not hear the television in the kitchen. I was in the garage and had to leave as it was vibrating so hard. The worst part was that we were not informed about it.
“They could have told us this was going to happen instead of just springing it on us.
“I understand they have to do testing but no apology or forewarning does seem remiss.”