According to a statement on the Covanta website, its plant in Conshohocken (Plymouth Township) suffered an electrical malfunction this morning at approximately 7:30 a.m. The malfunction led to a shutdown of the facility, which is noticeable in the adjacent neighbors due to the sound of it venting steam.
Plymouth Township Council member Kathy Bandish shared the following on Facebook:
David Sharp at Covanta reported an electrical malfunction this morning at about 7:30. You may have heard loud noises. Initially portions of the plant were still operational and then the entire plant lost power and is still not back in operation.. They are still accepting deliveries from local townships but nothing is being processed through the plant. The turbine generator is off. When that happened, a great deal of steam had to be released and this was the cause of the very loud noises.
Mr Sharp and another member of his management team drove through the neighborhoods to assess noise and smell. They could smell no odors but we’re aware of the loud noises happening intermittently. He is in the process of updating the web site now. He has no idea when the plant will restart as they have not determined the cause of the breakdown. He said there may be some noise when the plant comes back on line but not as loud as occurred this morning.
He considers this to be a substantial event. He will keep the township informed as they discover what caused it.
There have been several malfunctions dating back to December of 2018. Based on what has happened after prior malfunctions, there will be an odor that is most noticeable once the plant is restarted. We do know if that process has started as of yet (this article is being written at 4:00 p.m.).
Currently, Conshohocken, Plymouth, and West Conshohocken have contracts for its trash to be burned at the facility. Whitemarsh ended its agreement and sends its trash to a landfill.
Since the incident in late 2018, neighbors have expressed concerns about what the plant is emitting into the air. There is an active Facebook group that discusses this issue in detail.