The new power plant at the University of Alaska Fairbanks caused some noise disturbance over the weekend after a test involving a turbine in the newly constructed plant grew louder and lasted longer than expected.
“The heat and power plant is in testing right now, and as part of that we have to run the boiler at full power, or nearly full power, to make sure that both the boiler and some of the other components in the new plant operate properly,” UAF spokeswoman Marmian Grimes said.
The new power plant was running a boiler in order to test a turbine. Since the boiler was running at such high power, according to Grimes, it produced more steam, which necessitated the venting.
The new power plant is connected to the older Atkinson Building power plant, so while steam was being vented through the older building, the turbine test was taking place in the new plant.
Grimes said the test had been planned for Saturday, but the university had not anticipated level of noise that would come from the plant or that the testing would last for several hours.
The prolonged noise drew some negative attention. A May 20 letter to the editor in the Daily News-Miner said the venting disrupted the regional high school track and field championships being held at nearby West Valley High School, and Grimes said the university received phone calls from others in the surrounding community.
“We’re making contact back to them to let them know what the situation was,” she said.
Grimes added that there will be more testing at the new power plant and that test dates can be found online at http://news.uaf.edu/ for updates.
“We’re going to try and do a better job of letting the public know when we’re going to be doing upcoming tests,” Grimes said.
Contact staff writer Kyrie Long at 459-7572.