Continuous jet engine noise has been coming from Whiting refinery

The BP Whiting Refinery has been emitting a continuous jet engine-like noise for the past week.

For the past week, it's been loud in Whiting.

Since Saturday, BP Whiting Refinery has been emitting a nearly continuous sound that's been compared to "a jet taking off from close by when it's bad" and "a loud fan" when it's not.

The noise can be heard all across Whiting and in the neighboring Robertsdale neighborhood in Hammond. It's been a subject of discussion on social media that's worried residents, who fear it might be a leak in a high-pressure pipe, or worse.

BP spokesman Michael Abendhoff said the noise was related to the startup of the refinery's co-generation plant and was not related to any process upset affecting production.

"It is not a new plant," Abendhoff said. "It is the Whiting co-generation plant that produces power and steam. It was having some maintenance performed and is now re-starting."

The hope is to have it fully operational by the end of the week.

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Robertsdale resident Tom Dabertin, a spokesman for the Whiting/Robertsdale Chamber of Commerce, said that since Saturday he's heard the loud noise whether out biking at 10:30 p.m. or leaving for work at 6 a.m.

"It sounds like an aircraft engine, and jet engine," he said. "It's unfortunate because we've had warm days and cool nights when people are bicycling, walking their dogs or sitting in the yard. It's a fairly loud and consistent noise. It's a continuous noise."

In the shadow of a refinery, Whiting is occasionally subjected to such noise when units are started up, but it usually only goes on for a day or a few hours, Dabertin said. It's concerned many residents.

"There's a fear of the unknown when there's a loud, continuous noise that doesn't sound normal," he said.

"No one was notified. In the future, they would be a good neighbor to let us know it's going to happen. It hasn't caused any harm, but it has resulted in unnecessary concern."


Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.