Managing Noise in the Waste Water Sector

24th May 2022

Managing Noise in the Waste Water Sector

Wakefield Acoustics

Author: Wakefield Acoustics – Noise Control Specialists | Last Updated: April 2023

Resolving noise issues in the waste water sector can cause a number of challenges given the size and complexity of sites and the types of equipment installed.

Noise for new developments is considered at the outset of a project, where a detailed impact assessment is undertaken. This is not a special requirement only for the waste water sector. What makes it a little more challenging for water treatment plants is the proximity of some sites to local residential areas, the tonal nature of some of the noise sources, and the fact that such facilities need to operate 24/7.

What causes noise challenges in the waste water sector?

Externally mounted equipment obviously provides the biggest challenge when it comes to environmental noise. One of the major sources of noise can come from aeration blowers. These blowers push air at high pressure into wastewater to allow aerobic biodegradation of organic materials. This process creates a high level of noise due to the high operation speed of the equipment. Very high noise can be experienced at the air intake to the blower, and further down the discharge pipework, the result being a distinctive ‘whine’ which can often be heard across some distance, especially on a still quiet night, causing disturbance for nearby residents. The solution is generally secondary acoustic enclosures, silencers and acoustic lagging materials for pipework.

Larger sites can be powered in part via gas engines, fuelled by waste gasses produced by the plant, again adding to noise emissions from the site if not adequately controlled with acoustic enclosures or containers, attenuated ventilation systems and exhaust silencers.

Noise can also be generated by separation plants, pumps and motors, adding to the complex acoustic ‘picture’ of a site.

Whilst a challenge, with suitable design measures and consideration of noise from the outset, waste water plants can continue to provide their vital service without causing disturbance to nearby residents.

After 42 years in the industrial noise control industry, Wakefield Acoustics have a vast array of experience in acoustic solutions for the waste water sector.

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