Essex County

Nation’s oldest incinerator site under fire in Saugus after turbine mishap

SAUGUS, Mass. — The company responsible for a continuous noise that led to hundreds of emergency calls from neighbors on the North Shore is taking heat from residents and public officials.

The roaring sound came from the WIN Waste Plant on Salem Turnpike in Saugus Monday night around 8:18 p.m.

It lasted for more than 20 minutes and was mistaken for both jet fighters and explosions in parts of Saugus, Revere, Lynn, Chelsea and other surrounding communities.

The acting Mayor of Revere is now calling for the facility responsible to be shut down.

“It’s not a matter of if. It’s a matter of when this is going to be a big incident for the entire region,” said acting Revere Mayor Patrick Keefe. “This is a plant that should’ve been shut down years ago.”

Keefe attended an emergency meeting addressing the issue held by the Saugus Board of Health Tuesday night.

“It’s a public safety nightmare,” Keefe told Boston 25 News.

Neighbors vocalized years-worth of safety and air quality concerns connected to the oldest incinerator site in the country.

“How much more can the town take?,” questioned Saugus resident Michael Glionna. “The noise was louder than sitting beside an excavator, full throttle digging holes!”

A representative with WIN Waste came under fire at Tuesday night’s emergency meeting.

“I do want to apologize to the community [and] to the board for the event that happened last night,” said Peter DiCecco, Senior Vice President of Operations for WIN Waste.

DiCecco insisted that there was no threat to public safety or air quality.

He blamed the issue on a valve not functioning properly during a scheduled weekly test of the turbine generator.

“The loud noise is due to significant velocity and volume of steam leaving the boiler at one time,” explained DiCecco. “Last night was the first time there’s been a noise issue as mentioned.”

Saugus Board of Selectmen member Jeff Cicolini told Boston 25 News that he believes an independent review of the plant and its impact on the environment is necessary.

“I am concerned. The air quality monitors showed a spike in the numbers. I want that investigated,” said Cicolini.  “There’s chemicals in those boilers releasing the steam, and we need to know more.”

A spokesperson for WIN Waste said that the company is in compliance with all federal, state and local regulations and is taking steps to avoid any recurrence of what happened Monday night.

“The waste-to-energy facility not only disposes of waste safely, reliably and locally but generates renewable energy that powers thousands of local homes.  The waste-to-energy industry is among the most closely regulated industries in the world, and it is the EPA’s preferred method of waste disposal,” said a statement from WIN Waste.

The company will be called on to answer more questions when the Saugus Board of Health convenes for its regularly scheduled meeting.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

Download the FREE Boston 25 News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Boston 25 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch Boston 25 News NOW