Power Play Overcomes Invasive Birds
Better Roads Staff
Sheetz turned on the unit on the #1 power generating unit. “The whole flock of birds flew away. I assumed they might come back,” he says. And some did. So Sheetz adjusted the settings for frequency and volume, and he re-positioned the speakers to encompass a larger area.
Bates explains how the birds were also roosting in the power unit’s scrubber section, where exhaust gases and emission controls are housed – perhaps providing a warm and cozy spot for nesting. By directing the speakers toward the scrubber, Sheetz successfully bounced the birds back outside. Bates is noticeably pleased.
Besides the annoyance factor, he continues, “we’ve significantly reduced the health hazards for our employees and contract workers.”
Now the birds are no bother. Sheetz changes the programmable settings about once a month, but isn’t sure he needs to. “Birds don’t seem to adapt to the sound.”
During the initial barrage of birds, the crew was washing off the excessive bird droppings. Days later, the buildup would require another washdown. Bates is happy to have eliminated the frequent re-washings, saving labor costs and time and employee exposure to unsanitary droppings.
Also, he notes, the acidic content of bird droppings could eventually eat through the paint on the power generating units, allowing rust to develop. Bird control is, therefore, preventive maintenance. “It’s a way of maintaining structural integrity,” Bates says.
In summary, Bates says that the units certainly resolved “enough of the problem enough of the time.” He continues: “The birds have relocated away from the powerhouse and gone back into their natural environment. They’re not seeking shelter in our plant areas.”
But Sheetz reminds Bates: “We need at least two more BroadBand units to protect the transformers and switchgear in our substation,” he says. The substation is a natural attraction to birds since it includes wires, beams and transformers – all desirable perching spots for fly-ins.
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