Entergy announces its plans to lower noise level at power plant

Published 1:32 pm Tuesday, December 15, 2020

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During Monday’s meeting of the Washington Parish Council, two representatives of Entergy addressed the company’s future steps to address noise complaints at its Washington Parish Energy Center power plant.

The council’s meeting was also broadcast online with the Zoom program, allowing the representatives to attend via teleconference. Speaking on behalf of Entergy were Jody Montelaro, vice president for public affairs, and Patrick Hamby, regional customer service manager.

Members of the public and parish government officials have expressed their concerns to Entergy about the noise levels at the plant, which is located on Bennett Road just west of the city limits of Bogalusa. The 361-megawatt facility was originally constructed by Calpine Corporation, and Entergy recently completed its purchase.

Hamby told the council that acoustical engineers visited the plant in October and determined that the baseline noise level was “mid-50 to 72.2 decibels.” Consistent sounds above 85 decibels are considered harmful to the ear. He said that Entergy is planning to implement a three-step solution to “significantly reduce” that noise level. Those steps include:

  • Replacing a portion of the horizontal duct work that is currently in place. Hamby said that the existing duct work will be replaced with a wider diameter and improved silencers.
  • Adding an additional acoustic barrier to a portion of the roof.
  • Insulating the expansion joints on existing duct work, in case there has been sound escaping from those joints.

Montelaro said that the company is still determining the scope of work that will need to be done, but hopes to have a final plan in place by the end of the year. He said that Entergy could then begin the process of seeking contractors and handling bids in January, and expected construction on the improvements could begin as soon as June.

Montelaro said that the total construction process would likely take 30 to 35 days, during which time the plant will likely need to be taken fully offline.

“You’re looking at the plant coming back to operation in kind of the July-August timeframe,” he said. “(It will be) in a condition that we think will be a significant reduction, from the noise level standpoint.”

One member of the public asked questions of Montelaro during Monday’s meeting. Perry Mickenheim lives on Wells Road.

Mickenheim asked if Entergy could give a specific number, as far as the decibel level that would be reached once the work was completed. Montelaro said that he did not have a specific number that evening, but would work on getting one for a future meeting.

Mickenheim also asked if Entergy would consider making additional investments in the project, in order to decrease the noise level even further.

“My (response) would be to let us go through this (initial) process, and see what we end up with,” Montelaro said. “I think that we’re going to make some pretty big efforts to get it down a pretty good bit. I realize that you want a specific (decibel) number, and that’s fair. We will work on trying to give you some specifics.”

Montelaro also said that someone from Entergy would plan to attend meetings monthly during the process, in order to keep the public informed of any future developments.