The Gainesville Regional Utility announced today that the special hotline set up for residents to voice complaints about noise from the biomass plant will be closing Feb. 7.
The hotline was a program of Alachua County, the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, the City of Gainesville, Gainesville Police Department, the City of Alachua and the Alachua Police Department. It was designed to cut down on the number of calls to city and police officials and was paid for by GRU. The total cost for the program was $3,000 and received around 250 calls since its launch in November, according to the release.
GRU issued the following statement:
Due to the low call volume and the responsiveness of GREC in addressing citizen complaints, the call center will no longer process calls, effective Friday, February 7. Instead, concerns related to the biomass facility should be reported directly to GREC at 386-315-8028. In the event of an emergency, citizens should continue to dial 911.
Since the plant opened, residents of some of the surrounding neighborhoods have expressed concern over the noise generated by the plant, although most measurements of the noise are within or below legal limits. In response, the Gainesville Renewable Energy Center installed noise dampening panels to absorb some of the noise. The plant itself has not been without controversy, over energy rates and the cost and ownership of the equipment.