Indeck shuts down temporarily amid noise complaints

Published 1:50 pm Monday, May 15, 2023

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NILES – Residents near the Indeck natural gas power plant in Niles are getting a reprieve this week.

Indeck officials are shutting down the plant in an effort to solve the noise and vibration problems that have plagued those who live nearby in recent months.

Niles City Administrator Ric Huff confirmed Monday that Indeck began shutting down operations at the plant late Friday evening. At least two area television statements reported the plant shut down on Friday.

Howard Township residents have attended the last three Niles City Council meetings to voice their complaints about the noise and vibrations. They said they cannot sleep and it’s destroying their enjoyment of their homes and neighborhood. They likened the sound to a jet airplane taking off or a loud engine idling in their driveways.

Last Monday, Niles Mayor Nick Shelton vowed to help residents find a solution and other City Council members expressed sympathy for what residents are going through.

“Indeck Niles Energy Center identified that something changed with their operations upon a restart around March 26th,” Huff said. “Since this date they have been investigating the root cause of the noise.”

He noted that work will be done this week to try to find the source of the problem causing the noise and vibrations.

“The shut down on Friday is being follow up with General Electric personnel on site this week to further explore this issue and we are hopeful will resolve the issue,” he said.

When asked whether the company decided on their own to shut down the plant temporarily or were asked to by the city, Huff said it was the company’s decision.

“Indeck Niles Energy Center understood on their own that a new issue had developed and had to be addressed,” he said. “The City of Niles did provide notice to INEC that the current condition is not acceptable and must be resolved.”

He said he has heard from one resident who was thankful that the plan had shut down for now.

Laurie Gregory has been attending city council meetings to voice her concerns. She lives in South Bend but often stays with her elderly mother who lives near the plant.

She said Monday that she and her mother noticed quieter humming on Friday and Saturday and no noise on Sunday.

“We slept well, but we’ll see how this goes,” she said. “I tend not to jump the gun with this ‘fix’ because it’s not fixed yet. It’s just turned off.”

She questioned why Indeck didn’t take this action sooner. She noted that city officials told residents initially that the plant couldn’t be turned off.

“Turning off the faulty equipment should have been and could have been the protocol from day one,” she said.