Mary Morris – STT Champion of Champions

STT readers will know how tough and persistent Mary Morris is from posts like this: A letter to the Environment Protection Authority, South Australia.

When it comes to protecting her tight-knit little community at Waterloo, Mary will never ever back down.

Back in January, South Australia’s rotten little EPA promised to do a detailed acoustic survey of the dozens of homes severely affected by incessant low-frequency turbine noise generated by Energy Australia’s Waterloo disaster.

waterloo

Waterloo’s giant fans sound just like a lot of fridges at 500m …..

STT hears that the EPA are about to release the results.

We are very interested to see what they come up with.  At one long-suffering resident’s home the idiots from the EPA (blokes passing themselves off as “acoustic engineers”) stuck their microphones and measuring equipment well away from the house, but right underneath the largest gum tree they could find:

epa gear under tree at Quast place

If I stick my microphone under this, I wonder what I’ll be measuring?

Apparently, at least in that case, these clowns weren’t the least bit interested in measuring the noise being generated by the giant fans that drive this poor family nuts. Or, perhaps, it’s just a clever way of masking it?

We’ll find out soon enough – crack operators, Steve Cooper and Prof Colin Hansen had that same place bristling with their state-of-the-art kit, at the same time. STT calls it “keeping the bastards honest”.

Mary Morris is one hell of an advocate for the bitterly affected people of Waterloo.  Here’s a little of what Mary, quite properly, expects the EPA to be doing.

Open Letter to the EPA
Mary Morris
22 November 2013

My property is 17 km from the nearest turbine and I personally know many of the affected people. I believe they are genuinely affected and that there is a serious social justice issue here.

Frequently, as I drive through the  wind farm area on my normal work and social activities in the district, and when I visit people  there in their homes, I can feel the ear pressure, ear pain, headache, head pressure effects near the turbines which then disappear when I pass out of the wind farm zone.

This only happens when the turbines are turning. My 10 year old daughter is also sensitive and can tell when we are near turbines in the dark even though she cannot see or hear them, we can feel them.

How this study came about

A significant number of people near the Waterloo wind farm have been reporting negative effects when the turbines are operating since the wind farm started in October 2010.

In April 2012, I conducted a survey of the households within 10 km of the wind farm to find out how many people considered themselves to be negatively impacted by the Waterloo wind farm. (see my survey here)

I sent the results to the EPA with a letter:

  • pointing out the extent of the problem locally;
  • questioning whether the wind farm was actually compliant with noise regulations based on the limited amount of independent compliance testing which had been done; and
  • asking them to review and update their noise guidelines.

The EPA’s audible noise regulations obviously are not protecting the neighbours of the Waterloo wind farm from the effects of audible noise or low frequency noise.

What the study involved

The EPA met with a group of affected residents to discuss the problems late last year in Adelaide and again at Clare in January.

At Clare they announced they would be undertaking this 2 month study with continuous monitoring inside and outside homes to investigate the audible noise, low frequency noise and infrasound from the wind farm.

I have collated a data base or around 50 households who indicated they were interested in being involved in the study offering their property and/or to fill in a noise diary for the duration of the testing. The EPA chose 6 sites around the wind farm at varying distances from the turbines.

For each week of the 2 months of testing, participants sent in a noise diary to the EPA with details of times when they were affected by the wind farm. Including sensations, symptoms, sleep patterns, severity of the event, how long it lasted, time, date, wind direction, wind strength and strength and weather conditions.

As part of their study the EPA will correlate these diaries with their audible noise and infrasound and low frequency noise measurements as well as the power output from the wind farm at the time to try to understand what the physical basis is for the effects people are reporting.

Validation of results

The EPA has said that its data will be available to independent acousticians for checking and analysis.

Two leading US acousticians – The Director of Acoustic Standards America – Dr Paul Schomer and Dr George Hessler are awaiting access to that data.

Two other independent noise teams: Adelaide University’s Emeritus Professor Colin Hansen, as well as The Acoustic Group from Sydney have carried out simultaneous side by side monitoring with the EPA at several of the sites during the 2 month study and will also review the EPA data.

It will be interesting to see how their noise measurement results compare with the EPA’s done at the same time and in the same locations and if they come up with the same conclusions.

What we expect to come out of this study

We anticipate that the SA EPA will review and update their wind farm noise guidelines and be making recommendations for changes to the wind farm planning rules.

This would be partly as a result of their findings here at Waterloo, but also because of the mounting body of evidence both in Australia and Internationally (Schomer, Hessler, Cooper, Thorne, Ambrose and Rand, Huson, Doolan, Hansen) that bigger turbines with larger blades generate more noise in the lower frequencies than smaller turbines do.

We anticipate that they will find that Low Frequency Noise is a problem here and it travels much further than audible noise before dissipating and it penetrates buildings more readily.

We expect the EPA to make compliance testing more transparent and take into account the full noise spectrum including low frequency noise and infrasound (currently not required).

We expect that compliance testing must be carried out inside (not just outside) people’s homes.

Planning Laws must be amended again to take into account the fact that large scale industrial wind turbines do produce LFN and infrasound, and that this noise can travel many km before dissipating – therefore, setback distances between homes and turbines must be increased.

We also expect that this study will help define what medical and health research needs to be done to investigate the impacts on people’s health – eg sleep disturbance as recommended by the Federal Senate Inquiry into wind farms more than 2 years ago.
Mary Morris
Waterloo

STT says: “hats off, Mary”.

Mary-Morris

Champion of Champions!

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. Crispin Trist says:

    Good on you Mary. And good on you Australia for taking on the Global Wind Industry. I was born in Scotland which is currently being destroyed on a massive scale by this industry all in the name of saving the planet! I am now also an Australian citizen and am so proud of Australia for standing up to these developers because that is all they are. They have jumped on the band wagon for a quick buck and it is time the public at large woke up to what is happening to this beautiful country. It is being raped by this industry and our rights are being destroyed in the process. And how dare the head of Vestas come to our country and lecture to us stating that the likes of the Waubra Foundation and STT have had it all their own way for too long now. Who the bloody hell does he think he is? This is Australia mate. Keep up the fight STT and others like you. And hold the Global Wind Industry to account. Stop the massive rollout of Industrial WIND!!!

  2. Mary, you’re a truly amazing woman championing the cause on behalf of sufferers living in the vicinity or adjacent to wind turbines. We genuinely thank you for giving so much of your personal time. Rosemary Howe and Charley Barber

  3. Jackie Rovenksy says:

    Mary, wish I could be there with you all. It seems to be an inordinately long time between when the testing was undertaken and when they are presenting their findings.

  4. I totally agree with you, STT, Mary is a Champion of Champions.
    She has also been very supportive of us, in our fight against the Ceres Project, she even spoke at the DAC inquiry , that was held recently.

    Keep up the good work, STT, I haven’t been commenting, but I have been reading, things are starting to get very interesting.

    TCW.

  5. Steven Cooper and Colin Hansen had their microphones : OUT IN THE OPEN AWAY FROM THE TREES

    As did the EPA back in 2011 when they monitored for 6 hours in the daytime at this same home.
    Initially in 2011 they had their microphone too near some trees but decided to move it because they were getting too much “wind in the trees” noise.

    But in the 2013 two month study, the EPA microphones were sited under even bigger trees. Go figure.

    Here is a picture from the EPA web site showing their microphone gear
    EPA gear as shown on their web site

    and here is the same gear positioned for the EPA’s 2013 study of Waterloo (photos by me)
    EPA gear positioned under trees for the 2013 Waterloo study

    Close up of EPA gear positioned under trees for the 2013 Waterloo study

    QUOTE:
    SA EPA REPORT
    Waterloo Wind Farm
    Environmental Noise Monitoring Report
    Authors: B. Holmes V. Lenchine
    2/12/2011

    Page 2
    1.4 Monitoring Locations
    As this study aimed to address compliance at a particular residence (Residence 1), noise monitoring was undertaken at a location adjacent to Residence 1 over the several hours during the day (approximately 8am to 2pm). The monitoring locations
    chosen near Residence 1 are shown in Figure 1. …. Location A was changed in favour of location B after about 30min of noise monitoring as the measurements were significantly affected by noise from nearby trees and were not representative of noise from the wind farm.

    AND ….

    Page 7
    2.1.1 Residence 1 Discussion
    …………….. For a reasonably small dataset
    (covering approximately 6 hours), the gathered data demonstrates an extremely good R2 coefficient of 0.82 for a cubic regression. This is likely a consequence of
    the good monitoring location chosen, which lay in a recently harvested field between Residence 1 and the nearest WTG, approximately 50 metres separated from the house and any significant vegetation (such as large trees).

  6. Old Ranga from Victoria says:

    Well done, Mary! I’m on the edge of my seat wondering how the EPA will weasel out of THAT one.

Trackbacks

  1. […] is often these women who suffer the most denigration. It is a roll call of honour — people like Mary Morris of South Australia; Dr Andja Mitric Andjic in Victoria; Sonia Trist, Joanne Kermond and Melissa […]

  2. […] If – and it is a mighty big IF – Waterloo wind farm does ‘satisfy’ the EPA noise guidelines, then there is something seriously wrong with those guidelines (see our post here). […]

  3. […] done to survey the residents around the Waterloo Wind farm in South Australia (see our posts here, here and […]

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