Earlier this month, community sleuthing traced the source of at least one version of the pervasive noise problem that’s become known as “The Hum” to an offloading operation at CalPortland on the Duwamish River, just east of Highland Park. The sound we captured in this report – heard as far away as Gatewood – was a clear match to the sound community members were hearing (and recording, as included in an earlier report). Highland Park Action Committee co-chairs Carolyn and Billy Stauffer met with managers at the facility, who said they were committed to take action to stop the sound; Carolyn delivered the report at last month’s HPAC meeting.
Now, they have followed up on what’s happened at the plant since then. WSB covered the Stauffers’ visited to CalPortland yesterday for a progress report on what’s been done:
The oscillating sound was traced to equipment that basically vacuums dry cargo out of the holds of ships that are handled at the terminal – here’s the room that powers it:
This next photo shows the silencers, aka the mufflers, which were made at a Northwest shipyard in the ’90s:
After the trouble last month, terminal manager Steve Penswick says, they checked out the silencers, and found damaged bafflers. Penswick and CalPortland’s permitting/government affairs manager Pete Stoltz talked with the Stauffers and WSB. According to Penswick (in the top photo with Billy Stauffer), one silencer was fixable, but a replacement had to be ordered for the other one (the one that’s wrapped up in the photo above), which in the meantime has insulation intended as a temporary fix, after getting advice from a noise consultant:
The new silencer – being made in Minnesota – is expected here early next month and will take about a day to install. How well will all this work? It’ll get a test soon, as more shipments are on the way.