Unit 5 outage, noise work eyed

Area residents promised action by spring
Reporter Editor

Unit 5 is a neighbor on the horizon for many rural homes, farms. 
Reporter/Mike Brown Unit 5 is a neighbor on the horizon for many rural homes, farms. Reporter/Mike Brown Residents of Champions Drive, and other “neighbors” of Luminant’s Sandow 5 Power Plant, have been promised more work to lessen noise from the 581-megawatt power generating unit will be done this spring.

Kathie Bassler, Champions Drive resident, said Luminant officials recently met with some residents of the street and promised work would be part of an outage “this spring.”

An outage is also good news for the Rockdale area economically. Last year 425 persons came to Rockdale to perform Unit 5 maintenance during an outage which lasted from April into May.

(A separate one-time project at Unit 4 drew 1,200 persons to Unit 4 to install a Selective Catalytic Reduction anti-pollution system.)

‘PATIENCE’—“Luminant has been very cooperative in working with the residents about this ongoing problem,” Bassler said. “They say they are committed to fixing it.”

Luminant won’t comment on any schedule for potential outages but Ashley Barrie, corporate spokesperson, says fixing the noise problem continues to be a priority.

“Luminant currently has a team of engineering and noise consultants studying various noise abatement proposals,” she said.

“They’re evaluating a variety of factors as part of our selection process, including each proposal’s likelihood of success. We want to be absolutely sure we’re making the best, most effective choice to address any concerns,” Barrie said.

“At the meeting Luminant told us they had put the noise abatement project out for bids once but were unhappy with the bids they received,” Bassler said. “ They want to be sure once this work is done the noise problem is fixed.”

V IBR ATIONS—Luminant began getting complaints over noise and vibrations immediately after Unit 5 went online in August, 2009.

Area residents described vibrations so strong windows and walls shook and “water jiggled in a glass.”

There was an outage in November, 2009, during which steel plates were installed in an attempt to stem the noise and vibrations.

“And that did fix part of it,” Bassler said. “But there’s obviously still something that needs to be done.”

Bassler said the meeting between area residents and Luminant came about after Champions Drive residents mulled circulating a petition.

“We did not go through with that because they were very cooperative, expressed concern and were sincere,” she said.

“ We can wait until spring,” Bassler said. “We just don’t want to live with this noise all the time.”

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