Reducing noise to be better neighbours

Image of a muffler on the flare tip with a blue sky background

At the Suncor Sarnia refinery it’s important to be the best neighbour we can be, and we work hard to minimize the impact of our operations on the community around us. 
During our April 2018 Turnaround, we saw an opportunity to reduce noise during the venting of carbon dioxide (CO2) by installing a larger and quieter muffler on the tower where the venting occurs. 

Carbon dioxide generated at the refinery is used by a third party company. Venting occasionally occurs when the company is experiencing a power or maintenance outage and cannot receive CO2 from the refinery. While the duration of these events is usually brief, they can be quite noisy at times.

“We conducted a noise survey and found that during CO2 venting, the noise at our fence line was sounding louder than usual,” says Steve Soeder, project manager.

Typical noise levels at the refinery fence line fall within the sound emitted from household appliances such as a refrigerator, dishwasher or shower. Noise associated with CO2 venting was creating the same noise impact at the fence line as a kitchen blender or vacuum cleaner.

With this understanding of noise levels associated with venting and the proximity of the tower to the Aamjiwnaang First Nation cemetery, taking advantage of the planned maintenance window to make this improvement just made sense.

“This work was not driven by economics,” says Soeder. “It was about understanding the expectations our neighbours have for us to minimize our impact on the community and constantly looking for opportunities to be a good neighbour”.