Saturday, October 17, 2009

steam noise update

Friday October 16, 2009 around 8:15am continuous high pitch tone at excessive decibel levels for about an hour throughout the neighborhood west of the processing area. Readings in the high 80's in immediate area while seven blocks out the outdoor readings were in the high 70's and indoor readings around 65 db.

Murphy Oil reported a leak on the cat unit (the hydrocracker unit added in 2003) which was clamped and brought under control with no emergency situation . The use of steam, to knock down the hydrocarbon liquids, created the sound levels. Residents observed birds taking immediate flight and many pets displayed reaction to the disturbing noise.

Earlier last month refinery contractors returned to the neighborhood with noise sensors placed at about 3 foot levels among trees and fences in this same area. It was said that Murphy Oil is looking into installing a hurricane proof sound wall to abate their noise. No further details on site selection nor wall height were available; although, sound walls along Jefferson Parish Interstate tend to run at the 35 to 50 foot height, with placement in the existing commercial usage.

While noise abatement plans within side the processing campus are appreciated, it would seem near impossible to build at a height necessary to effect the frequent and disturbing steam-use noise sources . Friday's episode, while a short-duration necessity for safety, was near the top level of the leaking unit. Boilers and other steam sources for flaring events and regular plant processing usage are also located at taller heights.

Sensor equipment placed near bird feeders on Despaux Drive in early September 2009. Below, location of other monitors on Ventura, near Ohio Street.

Residents are concerned they will not be notified regarding further imposed neighborhood changes which may once again shift the balance towards industry. Already this past week has seen the clearing of trees north of the 20 arpent canal, presumably to prepare for the tank farm expansion just east of Jacob Drive. As indicated in the document, residents were not informed of the tank expansion location at the time of the June 19 2007 public hearing . Illustrations of the locations of the four new storage tanks were an inadvertent omission in the application package.

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