Covanta Plant Loses Power and Emits Noise and Vented Steam During Shutdown

This morning a loud noise and steam (from the safety vents) were coming from the Covanta plant in Conshohocken (Plymouth Township). There were a couple videos posted on social media of the plant during the incident. If you are not aware, the plant burns trash and turns it into energy. It is located near IKEA.

We asked Covanta for a statement. It is below:

At approximately 8:15 a.m., the facility lost power due to an electrical breaker failure. Upon losing power, facility safety equipment activated and vented steam through valves in the roof. This allows for the safe shutdown of the facility as the steam is high pressure and temperature. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused our neighbors.

We want to be clear that this is not smoke, but steam which is used to run the facility’s turbine generator. The venting steam does not negatively impact air quality – it is only water vapor. We are troubleshooting the cause of the failure and hope to restore power shortly.

We have also proactively alerted Plymouth Township about the incident. 

We were going to embed one of the videos, but they are posted in a Facebook Group about the Covanta plant. So if you want to see them, you will need to join the group.

Local municipalities, Conshohocken, Plymouth and West Conshohocken, send trash to the plant. The contract is up and each is currently considering whether to renew for five years.