Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA)

The engineering team at Akoustik recently completed an environmental noise impact assessment as part of an Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) application as required by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC). The assessment was prepared for a proposed cogeneration and pellet mill project in northern Ontario.

The proposed construction plan of the facility includes a green biomass fuelled electrical power and heat 4.3 megawatts of electricity (MWe) cogeneration plant and pellet mill. Essentially, operations of the facility include the electrical power and heat cogeneration plant as well as a solid wood fuel pellet plant and ancillary equipment. Waste heat is used from the cogeneration plant to operate the pellet mill biomass feedstock dryer as well as for low-pressure process steam and site building heat.

Upon identification of all of the significant noise sources at the facility, including turbines, cooling towers, front end loaders, generators, cyclone vents, etc., the closest sensitive receptors were identified; these included a residence, a school and a cottage. Through utilization of the Brüel & Kjær Predictor software, a noise propagation model was prepared to assess the noise impacts of the proposed facility at the receptor locations. As part of the assessment process, all operation details which influence the noise impacts caused by the facility were reviewed and incorporated into the model. These parameters include, but are not limited to: the locations of the operating equipment, the surrounding topography, location and geometry of all nearby buildings and operation hours of the facility, all of which were incorporated into the model to represent a worst-case scenario. The model also takes into account several other factors such as temperature, ground corrections, directional characteristics and humidity when calculation the impacts on the identified receptor locations.

The results of the model provide an overall noise impact level for each of the identified receptor as well as a detailed contour plot of the noise propagation. The noise impacts are then reviewed to ensure they meet the guidelines specified by the MOE. A 3D view of the contour plot has been provided, which illustrates the results of the noise impacts caused by the facility’s operations.