Commissioning work at the Parc Adfer site on Deeside Industrial Park has got underway ahead of the incinerator or ‘waste-to-energy’ plant becoming fully operational later this year.
Once it is up and running, the plant will be able to process up to 200,000 tonnes of non-recyclable rubbish a year taken from five local authority areas across north Wales.
Beginning this week, a steam venting exercise will take place as part of commissioning process for the plant which, officials say may increase noise levels locally.
A spokesperson for Wheelabrator, the US based firm behind the project, said:
“The exercise may from time to time result in elevated noise levels and visible steam at day time for no more than 10 minutes at a time, no more than three times a day, starting this week for a period of 4 to 12 weeks.
During the exercise, the boiler will be heated to produce steam that will run the turbine generator when the facility is fully operational.
Before the steam can be used to power the turbine, however, the internal pipework must be flushed through to dislodge any grit remaining from the construction phase.
The steam used to flush the pipework will simply be vented, rather than used to turn turbine.
During this time, purified water vapor may be visible and additional noise may be possible for the brief periods described above.
Steam venting is a safe yet vital part of constructing an ERF. The venting, and its minor effects, only take place during commissioning and on rare occasions during operations.
Nonetheless, we apologise to our neighbours in advance for any inconvenience this process may cause.”
Reassurances have been given that strict monitoring will be put in place to assess pollution levels from the incinerator once it is up and running.
Flintshire Council, which is overseeing the project, outlined how it will keep a close eye on particle emissions from the facility.
Speaking in May, deputy council leader Carolyn Thomas said Wheelabrator Technologies will be asked to carry out more tests than normally required, she said:
“The new facility will provide a modern, safe and cost-effective process for treating non-recyclable waste in accordance with national policy and diverting it from landfill.
Recent changes to the monitoring regime mean that from January 2020 operators of energy from waste facilities will be required to report specifically on emissions of Particulate Matter 2.5 as well as other particulate matter.
The North Wales Residual Waste Joint Committee discussed the issue of reporting on PM2.5 at a recent meeting and recommended that the partnership instruct Wheelabrator Technologies to carry out these tests more frequently than the permit requires.
That’s to give some assurances to the surrounding communities.”
During the construction phase of Parc Adfer, around 400 people have been employed to make sure the plant is finished. It has been estimated that it will generate enough renewable energy to power more than 30,000 homes.
A total of 34 new jobs are also set to be created ranging from plant management to operational, technical and administrative roles.