The furnace at United Silicon’s plant in Helguvík, Southwest Iceland was started up again Saturday night, following the repair of a raw material conveyor belt, RÚV reports.
The furnace was turned off on Saturday for the second time in around a week. Ten complaints were received that night due to odor pollution. As of Saturday afternoon, The Environment Agency of Iceland had received around 120 complains due to odor pollution since last Sunday, when the furnace was restarted after a month-long break.
Kristleifur Andrésson, director of safety and environment at United Silicon, stated that the odor may be caused by the restarting of the furnace after the month-long break, and that it takes three weeks to bring it up to normal operation. It has been operating now for about a week. The furnace was not operating at full capacity last night, but is now working at high enough capacity that it should not be releasing any odor, according to Kristleifur. He adds that the operation of the furnace is now on schedule, operating at 28 MW (full power is 32 MW), which should ensure that no odor emanates from it.
During the month that the Environment Agency halted the operation of United Silicon, more than thirty items in the plant were repaired, upgraded, or replaced.
Between 70 and 80 people work at the plant. The Administration of Occupational Safety and Health in Iceland (AOSH) has requested that United Silicon examine the health of its employees. Kristleifur states most employees have undergone health examinations, and the results will soon be sent to the AOSH. Sigrún Ágústsdóttir, head of the Department of Integration at The Environment Agency of Iceland, reported that the situation at United Silicon will be reviewed over the weekend. The results of air quality measurements are expected by the end of the month.