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Great Blakenham: Water pumps fail at energy-from-waste incinerator causing six-week shutdown

06:25 28 August 2014

The incinerator at Great Blakenham. Photo: Barry Pullen

The incinerator at Great Blakenham. Photo: Barry Pullen

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Bosses from Suffolk’s energy-from-waste plant think they are still on schedule despite the incinerator being shut down for six weeks.


The facility based in Great Blakenham, which is intended to save £8million a year by cutting landfill charges, has not been operating since it suffered a water pump failure last month.

Although it is in its commissioning phase, where dozens of tests and checks are carried out, the incinerator had been burning waste prior to the fault.

A spokeswoman for SITA, the facility’s operator, said: “There was an issue and we have shut down for some time. I would not say it’s a major problem as we are in the commissioning phase and so we are putting the whole facility through loads of tests.

“The plant was operational but was not in full flow when we had the problem with the water pumps.

“It would be lovely if the plant was working but a plant of this size and magnitude and with this equipment was likely to have problems in the commissioning phase.”

She warned residents to expect to see pink smoke again as the boilers have to be steam cleaned before the incinerator is started up.

There were concerns raised when large clouds of the smoke were seen last month but Suffolk County Council, which has led the project, said there were no health risks.

The SITA spokeswoman added: “There is nothing to worry about; we will be doing this for at least two weeks but that could change.

“We had anticipated issues during the commissioning period; we were ahead of schedule so now we are perhaps back on schedule.”

John Field, district councillor for the area, said he was “very pleased” the plant had been ahead of schedule but stressed the importance of informing residents of progress.

The commissioning phase, which started in February, is due to end in December when the facility should be fully operational.

SITA say the incinerator will provide enough electricity to supply 30,000 homes.

The county council is to provide 170,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste a year.

Hundreds of tonnes of waste have already been delivered to the site.

What do you think of the new incinerator? Email in at



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