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Newspaper prompts probe into 24-hour engine noise from factory

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Noise from a giant flour mill has made living dificult for neighbors. Photo: YEL

The constant, headache-inducing engine noise from an expanded flour plant is under investigation by Mérida city government.

Harinas del Sureste, operated by Grupo CMG, has been the source of irritation for neighbors three to four blocks away since it upgraded its equipment and more than doubled capacity in 2018. On the eastern edge of the Centro, the massive plant processes up to 400 44-kilo / 97-pound bags of flour every month.

A story Thursday in La Jornada Maya, in which a reporter interviewed area residents who have been inundated by the almost constant whrrrr, apparently got the city into action after over a year of stonewalling. The machinery and silos at the plant are in overdrive 24 hours a day, pausing only on late Sunday mornings.

The Urban Development Directorate of the Mérida City Council, indicated, through a document, that it is carrying out verification procedures against the plant. As of 3:30 a.m. today, Harinas del Sureste has made no effort to muffle the sound it generates from 12 silos on a campus that takes up nearly an entire city block.

Related: Noise protest in Centro draws ugly backlash

Noise regulations, aimed primarily at nightclub action, set standards for the hours under which a home or business can make noise loud enough to disturb its neighborhood. For clubs, soundproofing is required to contain music. Previously, businesses were free to blast their sounds under the open sky with impunity.

Defenders of the clubs said that residents who don’t like noise should move out of the city.

The Centro flour mill, on Calle 41 between 50 and 52, was relatively quiet until new machinery was installed. The civic group Todos Somos Mérida referred to the unrelenting noise as a “criminal buzz.”

Municipal authorities told La Jornada Maya that, like any legal procedure, “it is important to comply with the times and procedures to provide certainty when the authority acts and guarantee what is legally applicable to any of the parties.”

They emphasized that the current municipal administration, headed by Mayor Renán Barrera Concha, “will always privilege dialogue and conciliation to maintain a healthy and harmonious environment of coexistence in the municipality, in order to avoid further damage.”

In June 2019, municipal liaison Julio Sauma Castillo assured that a report was sent to the City Council on this issue. But it was only until the La Jornada Maya investigation — more than a year later — that the municipality agreed to look into the matter.

Grupo CMG celebrated the new plant in 2017 in this video from SIPSE:
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