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Two Reports Confirm Noise Violations: Fairhaven and Kingston

May 25, 2013

The preliminary report on noise testing of Fairhaven’s two wind turbines, unveiled by Mass. DEP’s Deputy Commissioner Martin Suuberg at the Board of Health meeting on May 21, 2013, continues to invoke strong language.

“Tuesday night’s board meeting erupted in angry shouts” according to ABC6 news political reporter Mark Curtis (“Fairhaven Wind Turbine Dispute Gets Louder” 5/22/2013). He later spoke with resident Louise Barteau, who attended the meeting.

LB: I think the people of Fairhaven have suffered long enough and I think they deserve better.

MC: And you want these shut down now?

LB: I want these turbines shut down now. They are too loud and too close, to too many people.

Curtis noted that the noise issue doesn’t apply just to Fairhaven.

In “Fairhaven eyes partial turbine shutdowns” (South Coast Today 5/22/2013), Ariel Wittenberg quoted Selectman Chairman Charlie Murphy,

“Before people didn’t believe the turbines were that loud at night, but now the study shows it,” he said.

On Wednesday, he said the study’s findings have only strengthened his resolve to “give our residents a good night’s sleep.”

The Board of Health agreed to the Selectmen’s request for a joint meeting. In his terse letter setting the 3-week delay and the awkward mid-day meeting, Chairman Peter DeTerra wrote “Per your request, the Board of Health will meet with the Board of Selectmen on Monday, June 10, 2013 at Noon at the Town Hall. This is the earliest date possible for the Board.”

In Kingston this week another report was issued. Noise Control Engineering (NCE), an independent acoustical firm, evaluated the O’Donnell turbines. The authors found that their data indicates “the O’Donnell Wind Turbines are generating noise that is in excess of the MADEP broadband noise regulation.” The report states:

Of the four neighborhood locations, two were found to be in excess of this regulation with increases over the reference/background noise level of 12 and 16 decibels…. The turbine induced noise is significantly above the MADEP regulation that only permits up to a 10 decibel increase.

This comes as no surprise to residents who suffer the sleep deprivation of noisy nights. “Residents are being forced to abandon their homes during periods of high wind speeds. Others, with no alternative, simply hunker down and try to survive day-to-day with a debilitating lack of sleep,” according to the letter Tim Dwyer dispatched to Selectmen. He is requesting a meeting on June 4, 2013 to discuss the NCE findings. The letter is reported in the Wicked Local Kingston article by Kathryn Gallerani, “Kingston resident claims independent testing of O’Donnell turbines proves non-compliance” (5/25/2013).

“The evidence that the O’Donnell turbines are operating outside the boundaries of the DEP noise  regulation is incontrovertible, and the effects are devastating,” he writes.

Dwyer said being out of compliance would put O’Donnell in default of the town’s zoning bylaws and in violation of Wind Power Purchase Agreement she signed with the town.

Late the previous week Kingston learned Kially Ruiz, operator of the Independence turbine, will not cooperate with DEP-contracted testing of all four turbines in the town (“UPDATE: Independence turbine owners refusing to cooperate with sound study” by Kathryn Gallerani, Wicked Local Kingston 5/21/2103).

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 28, 2013 10:56 am

    Mass DEP Fails To Protect Fairhaven Citizens

    No action taken by the Mass DEP on the continuing distress of residents in Fairhaven from two industrial wind turbines that are within 3000 feet of 700 residents there and out of compliance with Massachusetts state noise regulations.

    It should be noted that the wind turbines were found to be out of compliance with state noise regulations.

    It should be noted that even though MA state noise regulations are antiquated and arguably irrelevant to measuring the actual harm imposed by wind turbine noise (because the loudness of the wind turbines is much less significant than the other, much more harmful characteristics of the noise — the amplitude modulation and the high energy output of low frequency noise, including infrasonic noise),

    The MA state noise regulation prohibits the introduction of new noise that exceeds the ambient noise by 10 dBA (every 10 dBA is a doubling). Therefore, if the ambient noise is measured to be 30 dBA (without the wind turbine), the permissible level during operation of the machine is 40 dBA.

    It should be noted that the MA DEP has taken no meaningful action to protect the citizens of Fairhaven, Falmouth or Kingston even though measurements in all of these locations have shown that the noise from the wind turbines in all three locations have exceeded noise limits by a considerable margin.

    The public may recall that the MA DEP published a “study” last year by a panel of “experts” — all of whom had previous ties to the wind industry — which performed a highly selective literature review that ignored all evidence of adverse health effects that was submitted to it and pronounced an indefensible conclusion that there was no conclusive evidence of any such harm.

    The MA DEP study has been thoroughly rebutted by experts all over the world but is still relentlessly advanced by wind energy proponents in hearings all over the world.

    It should be noted that the selectmen in Fairhaven have made it clear that regardless of the failure of the MA DEP to take action to order a halt the operation of a wind energy facility that is clearly imposing grave harm on the residents of Fairhaven, the Town of Fairhaven is not about to waive its right to protect its own citizens through the legitimate functioning of the local Board of Health.

  2. May 28, 2013 6:47 am

    The MassDEP keeps insisting that the findings in Falmouth and now Fairhaven cannot be applied to other installations. Why????

    The siting of wind turbines depends on acoustical calculations that calculate geographical noise profiles based on WT noise specifications. Corrective feedback from Falmouth and Fairhaven to these models will easily show that all installations with similar geographical profiles are out of compliance.

    At this stage, Kingston, Scituate, Florida and other similar installations are illegal!

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