voestalpine has spent more than a million dollars on noise reduction, but nearby neighbors still want to see more results.
CORPUS CHRISTI -
Representatives from the voestalpine plant near Portland told city officials Tuesday night that noise complaints from nearby residents have not fallen on deaf ears. Company reps say over the past two years, they have spent more than a million dollars on efforts to reduce that noise.
However, some of the plant's neighbors say it is not enough. They say although they notice some difference in noise levels, industrial noise is still humming in residential neighborhoods.
That is something they wanted to convey to voestalpine reps last night
"It's like someone running a vacuum that never stops. if you step outside, that's all you hear," Portland homeowner Jeff Howard said.
Industrial noise has been the complaint from many of voestalpine's neighbors for the past two years.
Those homeowners turned out to the Portland city council meeting Tuesday night to hear what voestalpine's CEO Stefan Einfalt, had to say. It was a long awaited meeting.
"We've been trying to get you here for a while, now you're here," one Council member told Einfalt.
Einfalt laid out the steps voestalpine has taken over 15 months to reduce the noise.
"If you want to take on a problem of sound mitigation, you need to take a step by step approach," he said.
The company has hired experts to assess the noise. voestalpine says the first samples showed that decibel levels were in the low 50s, well under the city's requirement of 80 decibels.
The company used dedusting systems, gas compressors, and stifling rings to reduce noise levels. Now, voestalpine says there has been a reduction of 11.8 decibels.
Einfalt did not stay for public comment, but the public had some noise of their own.
"There were a lot of people wanting to make comments so he understood how it's affecting the people," Howard said.
Howard says despite some sound reduction, the noise is still affecting nearby neighborhoods.
"They told us a year ago they were going to reduce so you could not tell the difference between neighborhood noise and factory noise. And it is unbelievable factory noise," he said.
Einfalt said noise mitigation is an ongoing process.
"I understand, that there is still a group of people that is not happy with what we've achieved so far, and so we will be continuing our efforts," he said. "I will not give up until we have exploited every possibility there is in order to mitigate this problem."
The latest rounds of decibel testing are due at the end of the month. Once voestalpine has those results, they will move forward with a plan to further reduce noise.
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