Clarification: Turbine noise complaints

ROXBURY — A story on wind turbine noise complaints published Thursday on Page B1 of the River Valley edition should have stated that the Maine Department of Environmental Protection doesn't have the equipment, staff, or expertise to readily measure sound. When necessary, DEP hires a third party sound expert to review sound level data that is submitted by an applicant or licensee. The department then bills the applicant/licensee for the third party's services.

People with complaints about wind turbine noise should email them to beth.callahan@maine.gov so the DEP can have them in writing until a pending complaint response process is set up. People should include their name, location, time they heard the noise, weather conditions at the time of the sound, and a sound recording, if possible.

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Dan McKay's picture

It would seem there is a need

It would seem there is a need to explore the human relationship with the sound energy emitted from turbines. The DEP and the wind developer seek data that relates to a threshold limit set prior to erection of the wind turbine project. What science needs to explore is whether the threshold limits are adequate to protect people from adverse conditions due to exposed sound energy.
Although, the DEP seeks to further it's knowledge along this line of science, it has inadequate funds to do so.
It just may be the citizens of Roxbury will have to conduct a scientific sound assessment, utilizing a private, independent acoustical engineering firm devoted to such analysis.
The funding for this can be initiated at the annual town meeting by establishing a budget item to cover estimated costs.
Because the wind project valuation will be proportionately larger than any other existing property valuation in Roxbury, most of the money needed for a thorough sound assessment will come from the property tax obligation from the project.
The developers could develop " a good neighbor " policy by assisting the town in bringing in the best scientific analysis available.

Karen  Pease's picture

Perhaps...

Perhaps wind developers Angus King and Rob Gardiner, whose new wind project in Roxbury is already the subject of news stories about NOISE, would willingly purchase a top-of-the-line sound meter for the DEP.

It's the least they can do.

Here is a small bit of what Angus King has told US about his proposed Highland Wind project. These are direct quotes. Does any of this sound familiar to the people of Roxbury?

"The third thing is--- how close are the neighbors? That's a big factor and one of the great things about the Highland site is that-- there are 2 camps....summer cottages on the side of one of the mountains that are about 1/2 mile from the nearest turbine. Other than those, NOBODY is within a mile or a mile and a half of the turbines,... except for those two camps, the closest people to Highland at 6,000 feet. The people at Mars Hill are 1,000 feet. That's the difference--- a huge difference! The issue about sound. It's just like a truck going by on 201. If they're 100 yards away, they're louder than hell. If they're a mile away-- you're not gonna hear them. That's how sound works. It's a question of distance. The simplest way to think of it that I've come up with... if someone builds a turbine today in Seattle, Washington, I think we'd agree that no one in Skowhegan would be bothered by it. If we put one right by where the basketball courts are-- you'd hear it. So that means the only question is-- what's the right distance between Seattle and the basketball courts? And the answer is, based on Mars Hill and wind projects around the world is-- about 1/2 mile. Depending upon the wind, topography.... 2-3,000 feet, you're not gonna hear them.

"And by the way, what you hear from these things.... somebody wrote in about "The roar of the turbines" Come on! There's no noise at all from the machine. The machinery, the gears and stuff are all enclosed in this sound-proof box. You could stand from here to that wall and not hear that.

"There's not a sound issue, there's not a health issue, there's not a bird issue, there's not a wildlife issue-- if you want to see the effects of wind turbines on wildlife... on animals... go to... google image...put in 'wind turbines cows' and you'll see hundreds of pictures of wind turbines and cows sitting around underneath them... completely unconcerned, doing whatever it is cows do..... No issues of wetlands.... we're not 'removing' anything-- we're MOVING...when you build a road, as I say, when you build roads, you cut out the high spots and fill in the low--we're moving alot of earth, but nothing's being taken away from the mountains..."

Did anyone video-record Mr. King and Mr. Gardiner as they made their sales pitches for Record Hill Wind? If so... hold them to their words.

Respectfully,
Karen Pease
Lexington Twp., Maine

Mike DiCenso's picture

DEP

The DEP doesn't even own a sound meter? Would you like a donation? Friends of Lincoln Lakes has a sound meter!!! Since the DEP staff are getting paid if they are behind a desk or out in the field, there is no extra man hour cost for this outfit to do what they are paid to do, protect the environment. I know , the DEP will take the generous offer of a wind company to supply the "expert" and the sound equipment. They will even PAY for the monitoring so compliance will be assured! The scam continues...

Alan Michka's picture

More evidence of poor policy

As if we actually needed any additional evidence of how pitifully unprepared Maine is to deal with wind turbine issues...... This is what happens when zealotry, ideology and crony capitalism mix it up and drive state policy and statute. Maine could have planned more deliberately and shown more concern for citizen well-being from the beginning, but this was opposed by wind industry representatives, so here we are.

Yet, we're charging ahead to slap up as many turbines as possible before the citizen backlash gets any worse or the patience of the American taxpayer runs out.

Citizens who were already experiencing problems with wind turbines were treated as second class citizens by the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee last session. In light of the continuing, and accumulating, problems with careless wind development, it will be interesting to see how eager they will be to continue coddling the NRCM and an industry dependent on corporate welfare delivered by taxpayers and ratepayers.

Alice Barnett's picture

sound detection device

Record Hill Wind Is setting up some sort of sound detection devices In Roxbury. One will be in Thomas's field just outside Roxbury vilage on Rt 17. Thomas' house is around 1.4 miles from the towers.
Yesterday in his yard you could here them quite well. Yet i'm betting the noise will be within any damage limits as to goverment standards and what not. And i'm sure the noise Isn't harmfull at that distance,

Still who wants to have to listen to it all night during the summer when the windows are open, or your outside enjoying a quiet moment. Or outside working, Just as annoying as a barking dog.

Yes the people with all the sight and sound impact from these towers, the campers at Roxbury Pond ( Big Ellis)had no say in the matter unless they were a resident of the town, Same way with the campers on Garland (Little Ellis) pond

Alice Barnett's picture

no complaint process

do you think the WIND industry knew this??

DEP ochestrated a BEP noise ruling to be brought to legislatures.

I hope every representative of every town in Maine will protect their towns and demand a complaint protocol from noise makers.
Complaint protocol needs to address every receptor of these sounds.

Receptors need a local complaint center.

LOcal. local, local.

If you send complaint to DEP, please make a hard copy for yourself.
better yet send a hard copy to your legislatibe representatives.

BROOKS MORTON's picture

Good luck with relying on the

Good luck with relying on the DEP to inforce thier own decisions. I agree with Dan, if towns want to be protected they should do it themselves. The statement that " until a pending complaint process is set up"
shows how serious DEP is in feilding complaints.

Dan McKay's picture

This is an extremely local

This is an extremely local problem with a need of local mechanism to address it.
The DEP protocol of handling noise issues was offered by the wind developer during the application process and is full of holes, which was either intentional or unforeseen.
The town needs to have record of these complaints and a follow-through procedure. This means acquisition of data and associated costs. The townspeople have a means to create funding for such a study through property taxation and a town warrant article. The Town Meeting occurs in March and the assessed value of this project occurs April 1st.
It is mandatory that the town start action on facing this problem right away before their credibility of acting on behalf of the health and welfare of the citizens is destroyed.

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