Port Townsend Paper Co. plans to install a silencer on one of the mill’s machines in the next two weeks after residents nearby complained of a high-pitched noise coming from the mill after a scheduled shutdown. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Townsend Paper Co. plans to install a silencer on one of the mill’s machines in the next two weeks after residents nearby complained of a high-pitched noise coming from the mill after a scheduled shutdown. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Port Townsend mill to install silencer after nearby residents complain of noise

PORT TOWNSEND — Port Townsend Paper Co. is planning to install a silencer to quell noise after residents complained of a high-pitched sound coming from the mill after its annual 10-day shutdown.

The paper mill has been working with a manufacturer to build and install a noise silencer, which is expected to be put into place in the next two weeks, according to the mill’s general manager, Michael Craft.

The noise is caused by a new piece of equipment installed during the shutdown from Oct. 22 to Oct. 31. The new equipment was installed in the mill’s No. 2 paper machine to enhance product quality, according to an email from Craft on Thursday.

The work was one of five projects completed during the shutdown.

Craft said the new equipment caused an unexpected high-frequency noise to emanate from a vent off a blower.

“We’ve worked diligently since startup to address the noise and today made some modifications to the vent as a recommendation from the manufacturer,” Craft said.

Craft added that the mill also has developed a plan to run the machine without the blower in case the vent modification does not stop the noise.

“Although the sound is not as loud, it is still a high-pitched noise,” Craft said. “We are working with the manufacturer to build and install a noise silencer, which will address this frequency range.”

Craft said he would be able to provide more details about the new equipment once it is installed.

Members of PT Airwatchers, a Facebook group of over 200 community members, complained about the sound Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, and said they had put in complaints to the mill and the state Department of Ecology.

Ecology officials said noise complaints aren’t in the department’s jurisdiction but would be the responsibility of the mill or local government.

The noise complaints come less than a month after an increase in odor complaints was reported. Ecology blamed the cooler temperatures on the increase in the smell coming from the mill.

Port Townsend Paper Co. is the largest private employer in Jefferson County and has been in its location just outside Port Townsend since 1927.

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at [email protected].

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