GREC is a good neighbor
Part of being a good neighbor is listening to what our neighbors are telling us and doing what we can to answer their questions and to address any concerns.
Below are some concerns that have been raised and a description of what GREC has done to address them:
Although GREC has always been in compliance with local noise ordinances, we take noise complaints seriously and we have taken action to reduce sources of noise from our facility. In December, 2013, we installed noise absorption panels into a 48-foot section of the exhaust stack. This has reduced the exhaust stack noise by 17 decibels. To put that in perspective, a 10 decibel reduction in noise corresponds to a 50% reduction in the noise a human ear can hear; a 20 decibel reduction in noise corresponds to a 75% reduction in the noise a human ear can hear.
Above, photos of the installation of the noise absorption panels
While our installation of the noise absorption panels in the exhaust stack was the highest profile step we have taken to reduce noise emissions from our facility, we had taken additional steps previously. Those measures include: reducing the pressure in a boiler vent, adjusting our induced draft fan, adding additional lubrication to metal parts, replacing the backup alarms for our mobile equipment with a system that will not be heard offsite, and installing noise absorption panels and pads on certain equipment.
There was a mild compost-like odor due to some events that took place during facility start-up that have been resolved and that odor is gone. Those downwind of our facility may sometimes notice a mild ‘woody’ mulch-like odor.
We have received notifications from the Alachua Public Works Department, which is next to our site, that there were times that wood dust from our fuel piles had blown onto their property. To address the issue of dust, we have changed our operating procedures to not work with the fuel pile closest to the Public Works facility in high winds, to use water mist sprayers when we are handling our fuel to prevent wood dust particles from floating into the air, and to add a lignin-based bonding agent to our wood fuel when it is delivered to our site. Although there are residents who have expressed concerns about our wood dust, we have checked into these concerns and have determined that our wood dust never reached any residential neighborhoods.
Cloud or fog sometimes seen at facility
In the early morning, especially if the air humidity is very high, the water vapor emitted from our cooling tower can take on a cloud like appearance. This is water vapor and it is not harmful to human health. The water at our facility is highly purified before it is used.
Ash or wood-burning smell
Although we have received some inquiries about ash or a wood burning smell, our stack is not emitting any ash and our combustion process is not emitting any wood burning smell. We have an extremely efficient boiler and state of the art pollution control technology that prevents ash and wood burning odors from going up the stack and into the air.