“Fallout Of Soot From The North Power Station”

June 24, 2021 | 3 Comments

[Updated] BELCO confirmed that “there had been a recent fallout of soot from the North Power Station [NPS] that affected area residents.”

A spokesperson said, “BELCO’s Occupational Health Safety and Environment [OHSE] team and Company Managers are in regular communication with neighbouring residents and businesses and constantly monitor the emissions from the plant to ensure compliance with the laws and regulations governing BELCO’s operations.

“During the past few months, BELCO representatives have engaged in community outreach with various stakeholders including local Members of Parliament, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources [DENR] and representatives from the Bermuda Clean Air Coalition [BCAC] and an online webinar for the general public, in order to foster an open and collaborative relationship.

“BELCO President Wayne Caines, accompanied by OHSE staff, have also visited neighbouring properties and engaged with area residents. BELCO management has heard their concerns and have made operational changes to the plant engines to optimise their performance. In addition, the Company decommissioned eight engines in 2020 which has improved plant emissions.

“BELCO also maintains three ambient air monitoring stations in Pembroke that monitor the air quality in close proximity to the plant. These monitoring stations show that emissions are below the limits mandated by the Clean Air Act which regulates BELCO’s power generation plant.

“BELCO is ISO 14001 certified, which means that it meets the highest international standard for its environmental management system. The Company also complies with the Clean Air Act 1991 and Regulations 1993 issued by the Bermuda Government DENR including additional requirements pertaining to Ambient Air Quality Standards [Clean Air Act 1991] which requires regular quarterly reporting for all pollutants for all averaging periods. BELCO has been compliant with these regulations and the conditions cited in all BELCO Controlled Plant Operating Licenses & Operating Licenses Conditions [OL-114] throughout the commissioning of the North Power Station and since the 1 April 2020 handover.”

Director, OHSE and Business Continuity Mark Pacheco said: “Our team are working diligently with the operations team to mitigate adverse impacts from the plant. While we are in compliance with all statutory and environmental requirements and have carried out testing of water tanks with results also in compliance with world health regulations, we have worked with neighbouring properties to install water filtration systems and continue roof cleaning and painting as required. Long-term fixes are also ongoing including engine modifications that are aimed at preventing soot fallout and more efficient engine operation. We will also be installing tank filters to alleviate the smell emanating from the NPS fuel tanks. I would encourage anyone affected by our operations to reach out to us via email at ohse@belco.bm.”

BELCO President Wayne Caines said: “BELCO is committed to working with all stakeholders in relation to our impact on our neighbours and the wider community. We have outlined and are implementing a plan to ensure our plant operates at optimal efficiency and with minimal impact on the surrounding community. We are also working towards becoming a renewable energy company but this will take time and resources to implement. I would ask for the community’s patience and understanding as we work to provide a reliable and renewable energy supply to our valued customers.”

Update: MP Jason Hayward said, “The emissions emanating from Belco continue to negatively impact residents of Pembroke. As the MP for Pembroke Central, I remain concerned with the safety and wellbeing of the community residents.

“The pollution caused by the smoke stacks at Belco has been an ongoing problem despite many residents in the surrounding area continuously submitting evidence of property damages. An overwhelming number of constituents in my & the Premier’s constituency have expressed that their cars, roofs and other property are regularly covered in soot, the air quality remains poor and their water supplies are compromised as a result of the emissions from the neighbouring power plant.

“Despite outreach to Belco on several occasions, the problem has persisted, which is simply unsatisfactory. The company’s lack of urgency to rectify the problem has been most alarming and can only be perceived as negligence and a disregard for the community.

“The company continues to reassure the public that the problem will be addressed, however, to date the problem remains. As recently as this past week, area residents have sustained property damages and endured polluted water and air quality.

“I am again requesting on behalf of the residents that:

  • Belco provide a clear plan to address the ongoing problem;
  • Belco pay for water filters to be installed and maintained in area residences; and
  • Belco provide adequate and proactive outreach to residents to address property restoration [car, homes, roofs, outside furniture ] paid for by the company;

“I urge Belco to work to rectify this issue as residents should not have to accept a compromised quality of life due to their business operations.

“I have also raised the matter directly with the Minister of Home Affairs who is well aware of the issues that have arisen around clean air and water. I have been informed that the Ministry of Home Affairs is now advancing legislation and regulations to tighten standards related to air, water quality and pollution levels.

“The Bermuda Clean Air Coalition also has done a great job of ensuring that the problem is addressed and Belco is held accountable. Myself & the Premier, who represents the neighbouring constituency, will continue to support the group’s efforts to restore clean air and minimise pollution for the area residents.”

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Comments (3)

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  1. QFF says:

    Well done Minister Hayward. A bold and unwavering public servant.

    Maybe if the new leader of Liberty should spend more money on fixing the problem and less on his new logo car and shower, the soot will be less.

    Why is belco rebuilding new engines anyway ?. Something wrong with the world class 120M power plant ? Who is paying for the repairs. Well, maybe while Hayward is speaking out about fallout, as labor minister he can check how Liberty employees came in after the storm on Caines’ watch? I am sure it had nothing to do with the CEO job months later.

    Only in Bermuda. Blackouts , brownouts and still in charge. More to come.

  2. Question says:

    Why is the monitoring confined to Pembroke? Soot can travel miles before falling. Is the whole island being properly monitored? There is never any disclosure or information about this.

  3. Kathy says:

    Force a massive uptake of renewable energy by enacting a CARBON TAX…50% to be paid by customer, 50% to be paid by BELCO (cannot be passed on to customer). Use this carbon tax to assist those that can least afford the transition to renewable energy.

    The only way out of this mess, is clearly right in front of us.

    We are collecting data on BELCO and it is adding up to NEGLIGENCE!

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