Western Sugar started a series of tests on recently installed boiler equipment in Scottsbluff Tuesday, but the sound that accompanied the work surprised and startled some members of the general public.
For a few hours during the midday, a sound best described like a long, continuous rush of pressurized air could be heard for quite a distance from the plant on the east side of town.
Western Sugar Vice President Heather Luther issued a statement explaining the work, saying “We appreciate the Scottsbluff community’s patience today while The Western Sugar Cooperative’s Scottsbluff facility conducted testing on its new boilers. The noise that was heard is the release of steam from the boilers as part of the testing protocol.
“The testing of our newly commissioned boilers is required for Western Sugar’s compliance with state and federal regulations. You may hear similar noise periodically while testing continues during the periods of June 20-22 and June 27-29. Thank you for your continued support.”
The company is decommissioning the plant’s last remaining coal-fired boiler, transitioning to natural gas boilers for the steam and electrical generation needed for sugar production.