Industrial plants are known for being loud, acoustically-harsh environments. The combination of high ceilings, reflective surfaces and the din from heavy machinery creates an optimal environment for reverberation and noise. Such conditions can decrease productivity and increase safety hazards, creating unique challenge for facility managers. That is the problem the Coney Island Wastewater Treatment Plant faced after an evaluation of the acoustic levels in its facility.
Challenge: WWTPs are known for being acoustically harsh environments. High ceilings and reflective surfaces create reverberations and amplify heavy machinery noise. Such inhospitable conditions decrease productivity and create safety hazards, presenting a unique challenge for WWTP manag.ers. The Coney Island WWTP needed to address noisy conditions after an eval.uation of acoustic levels by the Occupational Safety and Health Adminis.tration (OSHA) which concluded noise levels in the Pump Room and Blower Room exceeded safe levels. Average noise levels registered 92 decibels (dBA) in the Pump Room and 87 dBA in the blower room. At these levels, communication among plant staff becomes difficult, if not impossible, and prolonged exposure could damage workers’ health.
Conditions: The pump room area is 87’ x 153’ x 41’. Four sets of 2,500-HP diesel engine generators drive 600-HP motors, which operate the pumps. Prior to the installation of the EFPs, sound level measurements were taken at 8 locations within the room at various distances from the engine genera.tors. The reflective materials used to construct the WWTP contribute to the problem. The walls and floors are concrete, and the ceiling is a metal deck. In addition, WWTP equipment typically generates excessive noise. Howev. er, their construction and configuration are integral to their functions and could not be changed, so the WWTP’s operators needed a solution that would work within the existing conditions.
Analysis: Eckel Noise Control Technologies was invited to assess the facil.ity and devise a treatment to reduce noise and reverberation in the pump and blower rooms. Following its own acoustic analysis and evaluation, the company recommended installing Eckel Functional Panels (EFPs) on specific wall and ceiling surfaces to achieve a reverberation goal of 85 dBA or less. Solution: Eckel Functional Panels (EFPs) absorb sound and reduce rever.beration, decreasing the risk of harm from exposure to excessive noise and increasing the clarity and intelligibility of speech. EFP panels are versatile and durable for WWTPs and other industrial applications. They can be used for new or existing facilities and installed around existing sprinkler heads, lighting fixtures, heating and ventilation ducts. The Eckel EFP solution covered about 50% of the WWTP Pump Room ceiling and 10% of its walls. Three quarters of the ceiling treatment entailed 30” x 10’ panels and the remainder 30” x 8’ panels. The walls featured a mix of standard size (48” x 8’ and 14” x 6’) panels. The WWTP Blower Room also received a mix of panel sizes (30” x 10’, 30” x 8’, 30” x 4’ and 42” x 5’).
Conclusion: With two sets of generators and four pumps running, Eckel EFPs effectively reduced the Coney Island WWTP Pump Room’s average noise level, by 9.85 dBA, or below the 85 dBA OSHA safety threshold. Following the Eckel EFP treatment and with two blowers running in the Blower Room, the average noise level fell more than 5 dBA, from 86.6 to 81.3 dBA. The economical and durable EFPs treated the WWTP’s hazardous acoustic conditions and met or exceeded OSHA requirements. Eckel Representatives are available worldwide: Call +1-800-563-3574 | +1-613-543-2967 | email@example.com
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