Grand Haven, Tuesday, July 25, 2017 — Early this afternoon there was a significant malfunction while operating the last remaining engine in the Grand Haven Board of Light & Power Diesel Plant, which caused a plume of black smoke to cascade over the downtown area. Plant operators took immediate action to safely take the unit down and will be troubleshooting the engine and controls to determine the reason for the malfunction. There was no fire in the building and no injury to any of the plant staff. The Department of Environmental Quality was also made aware of the engine malfunction and resulting smoke from the plant.
The engine, which was installed in 1974, is designed to start up on diesel fuel oil and then convert to natural gas within a couple of minutes. New controls were installed in June 2017. The engine has been operated at various times since the new controls were installed with no issues converting from fuel oil to natural gas and very little smoke coming out of the stack from the startup of diesel fuel.
Unfortunately, this malfunction resulted in a significant amount of smoke that carried ash particles from the combustion of diesel fuel.
David Walters, General Manager stated, “The Board of Light and Power sincerely apologizes for this issue and accepts full responsibility. We encourage anyone with a compliant or health concern to call our staff at (616) 846-6250. This is our community and we care very deeply when these events occur and will be taking every measure possible to ensure that they do not happen again.”
Grand Haven Board of Light & Power is a one of over 2,000 Public Power utilities in the United States serving approximately 13,700 customers in the greater Grand Haven area. The Board of Light & Power’s mission is to meet our community’s expectation for quality local electric utility service that returns value to our customers and the community as a whole.