Tuesday, May 21, 2013

vibrations from plant shaking houses


May 20 2013 Valero Energy has large flaring event with loud roaring and vibrations from the plant that shakes houses, light fixtures, ceiling fans, etc.  The source is reported to be the hydrocracker again, which had ongoing flaring since early May 2013.

Throughout the recent past, residents have endured countless days of continuous earsplitting noise levels or roaring noise that sounds like jet engines. In the past several years,  , noise measured above the local ordinance limits have been attributed to many different sources within the processing plant, include the hydrocracker, the cat cracker, broken boilers from Katrina, steam atomizers on top the flares, low NOx burners, vacuum trucks, processing valves on ALKY unit, steam use, over steaming to the flares, and various startup and shutdown proceedures. Residents received many promises for appropriate noise muffling and sound barriers at the source point.  In 2010, a Judge found the plant owners (Murphy Oil) had not installed appropriate noise control equipment.  Prior to the sale of the refinery, when management purported to be the transition team, in a Fall 2011 public meeting, we explained the refinery processes and equipment are still shaking our houses. There was little to no response, no new expressed concern to further a solution. When asked for information on a particular August 2011 incident which caused houses to move and rumble, it was said there was no information for that date. While some information was available for the May 2013 occurrence, it did not include any remedies for an unacceptable situation.
We have an unfortunate zoning situation with heavy industry adjacent to residential neighborhoods. Despite its industrial zoning, excessive noise is out of place and unwelcome here. No neighborhood should be subjected to such "typical refinery noises" yet these noises continue to disturb us at all times of the day and night. Therefore, measures that are appropriate for normal industry practice are inadequate under these circumstances.  Industry must recognize the need to do more than other refineries that are properly buffered from residences.
This noise is interfering with human activities.
Interference with activities such as speech, sleep, and learning – The thresholds for speech

interference indoors are about 45 dBA if the noise is steady and above 55 dBA if the noise

is fluctuating. Outdoors, the thresholds are about 15 dBA higher. Steady noise of sufficient

intensity (above 35 dBA) and fluctuating noise levels above about 45 dBA have been

shown to affect sleep.

…..annoyance felt in a community for noises intruding into homes or

affecting outdoor activity areas, the main causes for annoyance are interference with

speech, radio and television, house vibrations, and interference with sleep and rest…..

Hearing loss occurs mainly due to chronic

exposure to excessive noise, but may be due to a single event such as an explosion. Natural

hearing loss associated with aging may also be accelerated from chronic exposure to loud





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