Belco neighbours hit with more soot
Pembroke residents have complained about another apparent soot fallout from Belco on Saturday morning.
At least one formal complaint was made to the energy firm while several residents have posted comments and photographs on the Facebook group Bermuda Clean Air Coalition.
Catherine Pereira, who lives on Underhill Crescent off St John’s Road, wrote a formal complaint to Belco’s Occupational Health Safety and Environment team on Saturday morning saying: “Once again, some hour this morning large deposits fell on our property including the car. It wasn’t in our plan to wash the property down this morning.
“At times like this, Belco should make themselves available to clean the properties and remove the deposits before the soot turns to rust. It is extremely annoying that we are constantly cleaning up after Belco!
“The gutter of my roof is absolutely filthy from deposits, all of which gets washing into our tank.”
Saturday’s apparent fallout follows a string of recent reports of emissions from the plant.
Ms Pereira wrote on a post on the Facebook group: “February 11, 2023 – Anyone else dumped on by Belco some hour this morning?
“At 3:30am we heard a loud pop, sounding like a gunshot. Could this have been Belco? The chunks are large and everywhere including on our car. At times like this, Belco should make themselves available immediately and wash the property, etc while the soot is still fresh. Why should we have to constantly clean up after their dumping?”
Paula Madeiros, who lives on Ridgeway Road, wrote in a post: “We have loads on our recently painted white house what a mess. Now tenants are asking about the mess.”
She said she had written to Belco but had not received a response.
Another neighbour wrote in the group: “I found soot outside my front door this morning.” The poster added that he had cleaned the roof of his neighbour on St John’s Road.“
A photograph was posted by another neighbour showing specks of orange rust peppered over the roof of Danielle Riviere’s house, also on Underhill Crescent.
There were also reports of soot on roofs a few days before Saturday’s incident.
One photograph posted by Ms Madeiros on February 10 appears to show emissions from the plant drifting down over nearby residences.
She wrote in a caption: “Belco doing what they do best. Shame such a beautiful day but those of us in Belco’s path won’t be able to sit outside and enjoy it without fumes and soot not to mention the health concerns.”
Another post of a fallout appeared on the group’s page on February 7 with pictures of soot on separate residence.
Contacted by The Royal Gazette, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Home Affairs, under which the Department of Environment and Natural Resources falls, said: "The Environmental Authority awaits formal notification from Belco regarding any incident this weekend.
"The minister [Walter Roban] has stated numerous times that he sympathises with the plight of the residents regarding the unacceptable emissions from Belco. This has not changed."
Belco reports soot fallouts and complaints to the EA. The most recent EA minutes posted online are from November 2022, which include no Belco updates. October’s minutes documented six soot complaints in September – one on September 4 and five on September 17.
Belco completed a $2.7m retrofit of the North Power Station and odour mitigation in January 2022, which it said would improve the plant’s emissions.
More adjustments were made in June 2022 before a major fallout occurred in July after the engines were offline for a period.
Wayne Caines said in August: “The impacts felt by our neighbours are now isolated incidents based on anomalies and not our day-to-day operations. We are proud of this progress but can assure you that we will not stop until we reach 100 per cent optimisation, which requires a further improvement.”
The Royal Gazette sent questions to Belco as well as the EA, the regulator for emissions, but did not receive a response by press time.
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