(Editor’s Note: The Following is a statement issued Wednesday, Sept. 27, by WIN Waste Innovations following Monday night’s Emergency Board of Health Meeting in response to loud noise complaints that were heard throughout Saugus on Monday (Sept. 25) night)
We wanted to provide this update as a follow-up to a communication that went out Monday night as well as a Board of Health Meeting conducted last night.
To summarize, on Monday night at approximately 8:20 during a routine weekly test of the turbine main steam stop valve, the valve remained closed, preventing the steam from going to the turbine. In this situation, the steam needs to be vented and is typically routed through a drag valve to the silencer. The drag valve did not open automatically, causing the steam to be vented through safety relief valves, which functioned as designed. When this occurs, it results in an extremely loud noise, due to the significant velocity and volume of steam leaving the boiler at one time. Plant personnel manually opened the drag valve as the plant was being taken offline and, after approximately 22 minutes, the drag valve was opened and the noise abated.
We are acutely aware of the disruption this caused and we sincerely apologize to all those who were affected. Since the silencer was installed in 2021, there have been many instances in which steam has been vented through the drag valve and been visible, but not audible. We greatly appreciate the quick response of the Saugus Fire and Police departments, who came to the plant Monday night to ensure there were no issues other than the sight and sound of the steam being vented. At no time was there any risk to public health or safety.
Last night, we shared with the Board of Health a report on what transpired as well as steps that we will take moving forward. They include:
- We had two valve contractors onsite on Tuesday to try to determine the cause of both issues and make any necessary repairs or equipment replacement. The main stop valve issue was determined to be a bad solenoid valve and it has been replaced. No issue was found with the drag valve/silencer and the cause was determined to be the valve was closed for a length of time that prevented it from coming freely off of the valve seat.
- A Preventative Work Order (PM) has been placed into our system to complete a biweekly test to exercise the drag valve. This will further prevent any issues with the valve not being free to open and close. We will also conduct equipment testing during daylight hours.
- To address concerns the Saugus Fire and Police departments expressed about real-time communication, we have initiated the process of installing a dedicated phone line for their use only. We have also sent the Saugus BOH, SFD and SPD all of our points of contacts, including cell phone numbers where we can be reached 24/7.
- We sent the BOH video of the drag valve and silencer assembly and how it operates and are willing to provide tours of this equipment at any time.
- We will work with the Town on the logistics of a Reverse 911 notification system.
- We are providing and will continue to provide the Board of Health any information requested. Our facility is strictly regulated by the BOH, Mass. DEP and the U.S. EPA. Our emissions undergo continuous monitoring, with reports generated to the appropriate agencies. Here is a link where the air emissions reports associated with the facility can be found: https://eeaonline.eea.state.ma.us/DEP/MWC/default.aspx
- Earlier this year, Tech Environmental, a third-party contractor that works for the Town, completed an extensive analysis of the impact of our facility on air quality in Saugus and determined that even under the worst-case meteorological conditions, the emissions from the WIN Waste facility will not cause adverse effects on air quality. Here is a link to that report. https://itemlive.com/wp-content/uploads/pdf/post/TechEnv-2022-Annual-WS-Report-for-Saugus-BOH-1.pdf
We appreciate the opportunity to share with the Board of Health and the community our sincere apology for the disruption caused Monday night as well as our commitment to take meaningful action to avoid a recurrence and continue to operate this facility as efficiently as possible.
Peter DiCecco, WIN Waste Innovations Senior Vice President of Operations, also issued the following statement to The Saugus Advocate:
“We appreciate the opportunity to share with the Board of Health our sincere apology for the disruption caused Monday night as well as our commitment to take meaningful steps to avoid a recurrence. As is our practice of transparency and collaboration, we will continue to provide the Board of Health with all the information requested. We are also working alongside the BOH, Town and agencies to ensure seamless on-the-ground communications and will support the Town with the logistics of a Reverse 911 notification system.
“Over the past several months, we have worked transparently and collaboratively with the town to enhance our working relationship and I hope that most would agree we have made significant progress. We understand this represents a setback in that progress, but we reaffirm our vow to run this facility in a way that is safe, sensitive and responsive to our neighbors as well as be a positive partner to the Town of Saugus and the communities we serve.”