'A jet engine up the road': Ear-splitting work from Foothills hospital irks Parkdale neighbours

Neighbours of Foothills hospital in Calgary's Parkdale community have been dealing with "jet-engine"-like blasts roaring through the area this week.

'Steam blow' process part of work needed to ensure hospital's power plant ready for winter

Alberta Health Services says the steam releases last 30 minutes, and happen around 15 times per day. The blasts occur only during the day to comply with the City of Calgary noise bylaw, AHS said. (Dave Will/CBC)

Neighbours of Foothills hospital in Calgary's Parkdale community have been dealing with "jet-engine"-like blasts roaring through the area this week.

Workers at the hospital have been working to ready the facility's power plant for winter.

The repeating "steam blows" started on Monday.

"It sounds like the helicopter is landing in my backyard, as opposed to landing on the roof of the hospital," said Wendy Sydoryk, whose home backs onto the facility.

Alex Bruton, who lives down the hill from the hospital likened the noise to aircraft in the neighbourhood as well.

"It's kind of like there's a jet engine up the road. It's a loud jet engine lilke buzzing sound," Bruton said.

The noise, which Alberta Health Services described as half-hour long blasts of high decibel sound, is part of necessary work.

The process is part of the hospital's upgrading of its power generation plant to make it more efficient and ensure a reliable source of steam through the upcoming winter.

"Steam is a critical component to the safe and efficient operation of core infrastructure including interior heating and instrument sterilization," AHS said in an emailed statement.

'It's pretty loud'

AHS said it made efforts to alert people in the area of the work before it began on Monday.

It circulated a memo through the community association saying blasts would occur between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. all week. 

The steam blows happen around 15 times per day, AHS said.

AHS said a silencer has been installed at the power plant to reduce the sound level as much as possible, but Sydoryk said it isn't helping much.

"It's only been during the day that I've had it around dinner time. But yeah, it's pretty loud, we cant hear anything in the house when it goes on," Sydoryk said. 

AHS says it is mindful of neighbours' concerns — and the work is expected to be done by Oct. 25.

With files from Dave Will