BLP Board doing what it can to address noise complaints from residents

Although it’s going to cost some money to fix, the Marquette Board of Light and Power seems to be going in the right direction on addressing noise complaints related to Marquette Energy Center operations.

Exactly how much, at this writing, is unclear, although the BLP Board last week voted unanimously, with one member absent, to spend up to $2.9 million to solve the problem.

And it’s a problem. Just ask the residents who live near the high-tech, natural gas-fired generator, many of whom complained in the past year about high and low frequency sounds as well as vibrations they believed to be coming from the energy center.

Several months back, the board hired international emissions and noise management company INNOVA Global to study the situation, determine what, if anything, was making the racket and to recommend solutions.

At least some of the noise is coming from the walls and roof of the engine hall, consultant investigators determined. Additionally, the system’s radiators are also suspected of contributing noise.

Fixes include retrofitting the walls and roof with a bulked-up design as well as installation of acoustic vents and hoods. All of the above will be paid for from funds left over from the basic construction at the site.

Aaron Atherton, senior manager of business development at INNOVA, said in a Mining Journal story on the matter that the project will be done in stages.

“If we went in and ripped the whole thing apart, it would be incredibly loud for an extended period,” Atherton was quoted as saying. “It takes us a little bit longer to do it in stages, but again it minimizes the impact and keeps it a little more pleasant for everyone.”

Of course, only time will tell if these remedies will do the job. At a minimum, though, the BLP seems to be doing what can be done to correct the problem.