Belco hires firm to test emissions
Tests will be carried out on emissions at Belco's North Power Station by the main contractor for the construction of the plant, it was announced yesterday.
Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor, a Danish-based firm, will conduct assessments this week, which residents were warned may result in smoke and soot being released.
A spokesman for Ascendant, Belco's parent company, said yesterday: “This action has been taken following an incident that occurred on June 20, 2020 that resulted in soot being dispersed in the Berkeley Hill neighbourhood adjacent to the North Power Station.
“As a result of the incident, Belco conducted an investigation which revealed that a build-up of residue from the initial commissioning of the engines was emitted through the exhaust stack when one of the engines was restarted following a shutdown for servicing.
“BWSC will be carrying out tests this week, to further assess the source of the emissions, which may result in smoke and potentially soot being emitted from the North Power Station exhaust stack.
“Belco's dedicated Occupational Health Safety and Environment team will be monitoring the testing and will take any action necessary to mitigate any issues that may arise as a result.”
Concerns about pollution were raised by Pembroke residents who live near the power plant as well as politicians last month.
One householder highlighted that debris was left on roofs and in yards while Jason Hayward, the Minister of Labour and MP for Pembroke Central, said he was worried about increased emissions “spewing” from the power plant, which had left oily deposits on houses and cars in the surrounding area.
Anthony Hayward, 61, who lives on St John's Road opposite the power station, said this week that he checked his roof daily for debris that might have come from the power plant.
He added: “Just about every day I'm sweeping some sort of soot.”
Mr Hayward, a home maintenance worker, explained that the soot turned “rusty” if it sat on top of the roof for some time.
He said that Belco organised for roofs and tanks in the neighbourhood to be cleaned after the June 20 incident.
But he added: “You're doing all of this only for the stuff to be back up there days later.”
Mr Hayward said that he was worried about the health of residents.
An Ascendant spokesman said: “Belco cannot comment on matters concerning specific customers.
“However, if a property owner believes they have been affected by emissions from the plant they can e-mail Belco's OHSE office at email@example.com or call 299-2802.”
He added yesterday: “At Belco we take the health and safety of our employees and the community very seriously and we have taken every measure to ensure that any damage to affected properties is mitigated to the highest environmental standard and to ensure such incidents do not happen in future.
“Belco is also committed to working with the Regulatory Authority, the Department of Energy and Natural Resources to follow their directives and also implement the Integrated Resources Plan that will ensure a cleaner, more renewable energy supply to our valued customers.”
BWSC was the lead contractor on the North Power Station project.
Its website said on April 3 that the project was handed over to “long-term client” Belco in a virtual certificate signing, because of the coronavirus pandemic, at midnight on March 31.
Claus Lyskjær, the project director, added: “Construction commenced in October 2018 and by hard work, dedicated effort and great teamwork by all stakeholders in the project — both our consortium partner MAN Energy Solutions, the client Belco and BWSC site and home office — we managed to meet the agreed taking-over date.”
The BWSC website said then that the new power station would allow Belco to “retire several old engines that have been running for between 40 and 50 years”.
Dennis Pimentel, Belco's president, added: “Our new plant will be much cleaner, quieter and more efficient than the old engines — and this will benefit everyone in Bermuda.”