On the 11th June 2011 at 3:10am, Mossmorran suffered an incident which resulted in excessive noise pollution, vibration and light pollution which caused one local to write a darkly comic doric poem, titled; ‘Dawn Chorus O Mossmorran‘.

This article was the most commented article to ever appear on the site and we received complaints regarding Mossmorran from as far as Dundee and Livingstone.

The incident started at approximately 2:52am on the 11th July and the excessive flaring ended on the 17th June at 5:33 am, according to Mossmorran representatives. At the time of the incident there was the usual apology, the communities were also notified that there had been a valve failure.

However, after obtaining information through the Freedom of Information act, whilst it was concluded the incident was a valve failure, this was not the entire story, which leads to further questions regarding concerns over the safety of the plant, and potentially this incident could be repeated in the future.

Final Conclusions of Investigation

The failure of the spring in the safety valve resulted in the early operation of the safety valve. This allowed steam to pass to atmosphere generating higher than normal noise in the process.

The safety valves at Fife Ethylene Plant have been assessed for the potential to fail in a similar manner and have similar consequences. It has been concluded that there are eight valves that could suffer from this type of failure, potentially resulting in elevated flaring and higher than normal noise levels, and six others that could result in similar noise levels.

We have concluded that these fourteen valves will be overhauled and the springs will be replaced with an upgraded alloy material to prevent potential future failures through this degradation mechanism. These will be replaced over the next 12 months to facilitate the expected long delivery dates of the spring materials and scheduling of the equipment for removal.

The root cause was failure of the spring through hydrogen embrittlement.

Other information obtained stated that 15 valves had been identified for inspection and spring replacement, and is due to be complete by 31st March 2012, and 31st July 2012. There has been a problem isolating one of the valves, this will then be replaced during the planned shutdown of the plant in August 2012.

During the incident Mossmorran state:

The initial noise was due to the steam emission through the atmospheric vent which lasted for approx 20 minutes. When the steam venting stopped, this was replaced by a lower intensity noise associated with flaring. Both caused some disturbance to our close neighbours but had a low impact on the environment. 21 community complaints were received by the site from the local community

Yet we received complaints from as far as Dundee and Livingstone regarding the light pollution with individuals concerned that Mossmorran had blown up. Local reports from the surrounding communities reported a series of explosion like sounds, and the noise was reported from as far as Edinburgh.

A total of 10,874 tonnes of hydrocarbon was flared during this time.

To view the full reports and communications between SEPA and Plant representatives please visit our Freedom of Information request at: http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/mossmorran_flaring_incident_11th#incoming-252302.

To view some of the public complaints and concerns we received, please visit: http://lochgelly.org.uk/2011/06/the-dawn-chorus-o-mossmorran/#comments.

Lastly, the Lochgelly Community Council have been very active raising concerns to Mossmorran, but stated that approximately only 30% of their concerns have been answered. They have also invited Mossmorran to attend the Community Council meetings on several occasions, but Mossmorran have repeatedly declined the offer.

Load More Related Articles
Load More By Loch of Shining Waters
Load More In Environment

Leave a Reply

All fields are optional. You do not have to use your real name, pseudonyms are accepted.

Check Also

Shell – Community Notice – Planned Maintenance for 3rd July 2018

Posted on behalf of Shell Wednesday 27 June, 2018 Dear community colleagues, I would like …