Roxbury residents lodge turbine noise complaints

ROXBURY — West Shore Road homeowner Linda Kuras knew she'd hear noises from wind turbines atop Flathead Mountain, which lines the east shore of Roxbury Pond.

Terry Karkos/Sun Journal

Record Hill Wind LLC turbine blades spin slowly atop towers on Flathead Mountain in Roxbury Pond on Wednesday. Roxbury selectmen are starting to get noise complaints from some residents and are advising them to contact the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

She and several other residents fought in vain for years against Record Hill Wind LLC's project to place 22 turbines on town ridges. Turbine noise was one of many concerns.

Now that the multi-million-dollar project has been online for a month and the giant turbine blades are slowly revolving, Kuras said Tuesday evening that she feels somewhat vindicated that her worries proved true.

“I'm not crazy,” she said. “I know what I'm hearing.”

Kuras told Roxbury selectmen Tuesday night that the low frequency noise sounds like something heavy tumbling in a clothes dryer.

She doesn't hear it every night and she tells her husband not to let her know when he hears the noise. She doesn't want to be unduly influenced to listen for it.

“I know what the ice in the lake sounds like and this noise is not that,” she said. “This is a repetitive thumping sound: a whemp, whemp. What was once a quiet night's sleep is now this.”

Roxbury Selectman Tim DeRouche also told the board that he, too, was hearing noises from a turbine or more than one turbine. He lives on East Shore Road in Roxbury.

“It sounds like wind gushing right over the mountain. It sounds like a jet,” DeRouche told Gordon Gamble of Roxbury.

Gamble is Record Hill Wind's director of community relations. He jotted down the information from Kuras and DeRouche.

Like Kuras, DeRouche said he doesn't hear it every day or night, just when Roxbury Pond is dead quiet and his truck isn't running. He said the revolving turbine blades were facing him when he heard the noise.

Board Chairman John Sutton told DeRouche that people with wind turbine noise complaints should contact the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. He said they have the ability to measure levels of sound, but Sutton is incorrect, Samantha DePoy-Warren, DEP spokeswoman, said by email on Thursday afternoon in Augusta.

"The department does not have the equipment, staff, nor expertise to readily measure sound," DePoy-Warren said.

When necessary, she said DEP contracts a third party sound expert to review sound level data that is submitted by an applicant or licensee.

The applicant/licensee is then billed for the third party's services.

"Since noise is so subjective and everyone's hearing is different, the department is in the process of setting up a complaint response protocol similar to ones we've used for other sites," DePoy-Warren said.

"There's no doubt that residents will hear the turbines, but we're tasked with making sure the development stays compliant with DEP rules."

Until that complaint response process is created, she said people should email Beth Callahan, DEP project manager, at beth.callahan@maine.gov, so they have the complaint in writing.

"To evaluate whether the sound heard is directly correlated with operation of the Record Hill Wind Project and is in compliance with the department's regulations, they should include their name, location, time they heard the noise, the weather conditions at the time of the sound, and a sound recording, if possible," DePoy-Warren said.

Sutton also wants turbine noise complaints recorded in the Roxbury town office for the town's own records.

The board also learned that the Roxbury wind farm has a problem with its No. 20 turbine, which faces Roxbury Pond.

Selectman Michael Worthley said they're waiting for a part to arrive from New Jersey.

In other news, selectmen unanimously hired Rob Stevens Jr. of Farmington as the town's assessor's agent, with a salary of $3,434.50.

A planned presentation on the tax impacts of wind farms on communities by Michael Rogers of the Maine Revenue Services was postponed to Feb. 28 due to illness.

Selectmen also decided to contact a Maine Department of Transportation official at the regional headquarters in Dixfield to find out if DOT will be reconstructing Route 120 in Roxbury in the near future.

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Monique Aniel's picture

what you can do :

If you have wondered why In February 2009 the staff of the Rumford Community Hospital requested that Governor Baldacci calls for a moratorium on all wind projects until protective setbacks from the harmful effects of turbine noise would be established, today's article should answer your question:
Because wind turbines are noisy and the current DEP regulations are not protecting all Maine residents at all time and the wind developers do know this perfectly well.

Conforted by his political power,by the influence of specialized lobbyist and pro- wind Maine law firms influencing the regulatory process for the past twenty years ,and empowered by his carefully crafted dictatorial law called the Expedited Wind law, Baldacci and Dora Mills , MD ( head ot the MCDC ) rejected the medical staff plea for empathy and sound public health policy and denied the moratorium
.
Joining the sad ranks of folks in Mars Hill,Vinalhaven,Freedom, folks in Roxbury are starting now to suffer from the effects of turbine noise.
The current head of the Maine Center for Disease Control, Dr. Sheila Pinette, has already been alerted of the complaints in Freedom, Vinalhaven and Mars Hill and to the work done for the past two years to change the noise rules. She is required by law (LD 1366), to present a report to the legislature on the subject of health effects of turbine noise by February 2, 2012.

If you have questions, comments or observations to convey to her on that subject, email Dr Pinette at "sheila dot pinette at maine dot gov" and use the following as subject of your email:: "Adverse effect of wind turbines" as we have used this heading for all of our communications with her.

Monique Aniel,
www.windtaskforce.org

Alan Michka's picture

Is anyone surprised?

Does this really come as a surprise to anyone?

How Angus King and Rob Gardiner respond to this will tell us a lot about them and their motives. I hope the Yale University community becomes very familiar with what the Yale Endowment is doing to rural Maine communities - as if it weren't bad enough that they built this project with most of the risk shouldered by American taxpayers through Solyndra-esque financing.

The developers of this project should be ashamed. Will our lawmakers ever learn? Wind power IS NOT critical to Maine. Mainers lives shouldn't be degraded to give King, Gardiner and the Yale Endowment investment opportunities at our expense - or to appease the NRCM.

 's picture

someone cares

Tom Remington listens to complaints about Record Hill Wind.

http://tomremington.com/2012/01/09/6557/

 's picture

windsprawl

The developers do not care that they are annoying people who are living quietly and minding their own business. Wind turbines only keep coal power plants burning longer without reducing emissions. RECs are cheaper than upgrades or emission controls. Maybe we should pay the DEP a visit in person and not be as polite as we have been? How many red blinking lights reflect off the lake at night? I see 15 here in Lincoln, for nothing. Wasting energy that could power x number of homes...

 's picture

Deja vu

This isn't a new story. It's a sad repetition of an ancient one.

Smooth-talking salesman comes to town with a miracle cure for what ails us...

Need cheaper taxes? They can do that!

Cheaper electricity? They've got that covered, too.

The 'tangible benefits', however, simply cannot mitigate that which has been lost... and what WILL BE lost in community after community if Maine citizens don't sit up and pay attention to common sense and economics and science.

Angus King and Rob Gardiner aren't out to save the planet--or even Roxbury. Their goal in life is not to 'get us off foreign oil' or 'bring American soldiers home'. The wind development in Roxbury was not a work of sacrifice on their part. Maine's 'foreign oil'?? It is imported from Canada and Mexico. American soldiers are not at risk from our friendly neighbors to the north and south.

Wind energy is a scam. It is hard to admit that--especially when I used to be in favor of it. But that was before I began to study the facts pertaining to this issue, and before I dealt with wind developers first-hand.

I encourage Roxbury residents to protest (loudly) the reduction in your quality of life. If you are lucky, you will not suffer the debilitating health effects of high and low frequency noises and infrasound. If you do, please give serious consideration to speaking out. For far too long, the wind lobby has bought off--or intimidated--its victims.

No more. We can't allow this to go on any longer.

For more information about how you can get involved, please contact me at roomtomove@tds.net.

Respectfully,
Karen Pease
Lexington Twp., Maine

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