World First: Ontario Council Includes Infrasound in Wind Farm Noise Law

when-is-wind-energy-noise-pollution

The most common source of complaint from those unfortunates forced to live next to wind farms is the incessant low-frequency noise and infrasound generated by giant industrial wind turbines: turning a quiet night in into an occasion of acoustic torture (see our post here); and destroying many a good night’s sleep (see our post here).

But the low-frequency noise and massive air pressure fluctuations generated by giant fans have never been part of any noise standard or regulation for wind farms.

The noise standards – written by the wind industry – rely on the dB(A) weighting and, therefore, deliberately ignore the vast bulk of the sound energy produced by turbines – which pervades homes as infrasound and in frequencies that cause sleep deprivation and other adverse health effects (see our post here).

The idea of “testing” for the impacts from turbine noise and vibration without including infrasound and low-frequency noise is completely bonkers. Dr Mariana Alves-Pereira – who has been studying low-frequency noise impacts with her research group for 30 years, certainly thinks so (see our post here).

The standards not only ignore infrasound, but the South Australian EPA’s noise guidelines even ludicrously assert that infrasound was a feature of earlier turbine designs that is not present at “modern wind farms”. SA’s EPA – despite being incapable of following its own guidelines when it came to noise testing at Waterloo – managed to find infrasound present inside neighbouring homes at a very modern wind farm, that started operation in 2010 (see our posts here and here).

For a great little summary on wind turbine generated infrasound and its adverse affects on health, check out this video of Professor Alec Salt laying it out in clear and simple terms:

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Given the work of Professor Salt (outlined in the video) and Steven Cooper’s findings at Cape Bridgewater (see our post here) the need to mandate the proper measurement of turbine low-frequency noise and infrasound as part of any reasonable noise standard is simply common sense.

The direct link between very low-frequency turbine noise, sleep disturbance and annoyance was well and truly established by Neil Kelley & Co over 25 years ago (see posts here and here and here). And the wind industry knew all about it (see our post here).

But, the wind industry has steadfastly refused to be regulated by science, common sense or, especially, by any form of human decency (see our post here). Danish fan maker, Vestas went so far as to lobby the NSW Planning Department to remove any reference to low-frequency noise from its draft noise guidelines – as well as the entire section on human health – with Vestas stooge, Ken McAlpine admitting that: “the existing and well validated industry standard models for acoustic propagation are NOT designed to deal with frequencies at the low end of the audible spectrum” (see this article and our post here).

The wind industry’s approach to noise regulation can wrapped us as follows:

But – for the first time since the great wind power fraud kicked off – low-frequency noise and infrasound is about to appear on the wind farm noise regulation menu.

In Ontario, the lakeside county of Lambton has been speared with hundreds of giant fans. With turbines lobbed 550m from homes – wind farm neighbours have been slaughtered by turbine noise and vibration (see our post here). Locals there have been hammering their political betters for a better deal – and the Plympton-Wyoming Council has stopped to listen – introducing the kind of noise regulation that the wind industry has fought tooth and nail to avoid all over the globe. Here’s The Independent reporting on a win for common sense and human decency (the Council’s By-Law is set out below).

New bylaw will hold turbines companies to keep it down
The Independent
8 October 2014

Plympton-Wyoming’s proposed wind turbine noise bylaw is going where no regulation has gone before.

Council has given first and second reading to a bylaw which regulates the amount of noise coming from industrial wind projects. Council asked staff and the municipality’s lawyers to come up with the bylaw since much of the concern about the project has to do with the potential health effects of the noise coming from the turbine.

Clerk Brianna Coughlin says much of the regulation set out in the bylaw meets standards already set by the provincial government. “We can’t go beyond that,” she says.

But Plympton-Wyoming is going to hold the wind energy companies to a new standard. “The only difference (from the provincial standards) is the bylaw has mention of infra-sound which not regulated by the province right now,” says Couglin.

Infrasound is inaudible for most people but can be perceived by other senses and it is measurable according to some experts says Couglin.

Under the bylaw, if a resident complains about infra sound, the municipality would hire an engineer qualified to take the measurements before laying a charge.

Under the proposed bylaw, fines – if a company is found guilty – can range from $500 to $10,000 per offence and could exceed $100,000 if the offense continues. The municipality could also recoup the cost of the specialized testing under the bylaw.

Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper says that while Suncor Energy (which is developing the Cedar Point project in the municipality) has yet to comment on the inclusion of infrasound in the bylaw, he thinks it is necessary.

“We think it is our obligation to look after the health of the people,” he says. “You just can’t make rules and not cover everything.”

And he believes the proposed fines are appropriate. “It’s no worse than polluting,” he says.

Council will get another look at the bylaw Wednesday. Couglin says council could decide to hold a public meeting to get input or it could pass it without public comment that evening.

Meantime, the municipality also introduced a bylaw which would see Suncor provide a letter of credit for the value of the scrap metal for the turbines instead of providing a deposit.

The bylaw would also see Suncor pay building permit fees of nearly $300,000 for the 27 turbines it plans to erect near Camlachie.
The Independent

By-law to provide for the regulation of wind turbine noise within the Town of Plympton-Wyoming

In this by-law:

A-weighting” means the frequency weighting characteristic as specified in the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Standard 61672, and intended to approximate the relative sensitivity of the normal human ear to different frequencies (pitches) of sound. It is denoted as “A”. …

Infra-sound” means sound with energy in the frequency range of 0-20 Hz. It is often considered to be inaudible for most people unless at a relatively high amplitude but has been shown to be perceived via other senses at lower amplitudes especially for complex non-steady, non-sinusoidal pressure waves. Modern utility scale wind turbines produce an infrasonic blade passage tone typically centered at a frequency of 1 Hz or lower. [E.G. a wind turbine with hub rotation of 10 rpm would have a blade pass frequency of 0.5 Hz.] The most significant noise inside of a dwelling occurs from tones produced by the rotating blades of the wind turbine in the frequency range between 0.25 Hz and 10 Hz. Most of this energy is below 3 Hz with sound pressures increasing as frequency decreased down to the blade pass frequency. …

Low Frequency Noise” (LFN) refers to sounds with energy in the lower frequency range of 20 to 200 Hz. …

Sound” is an oscillation in pressure, stress, particle displacement or particle velocity, in a medium with internal forces (e.g. elastic, viscous), or the superposition of such propagated oscillations, which may or may not cause an auditory sensation.

Sound Level” means the A-weighted Sound Pressure Level.

Sound Level Limit” is the limiting value described in terms of the one hour A-weighted Equivalent Sound Level.

Sound Pressure” means the instantaneous difference between the actual pressure and the average or barometric pressure at a given location. The unit of measurement is the micro pascal (μPa).

Sound Pressure Level” means twenty times the logarithm to the base 10 of the ratio of the effective pressure (μPa) of a sound to the reference pressure of 20 μPa. …

Regulation …

(d) No Wind Facility shall make, cause or permit the emission of Infra-sound in the frequency between 0 Hz and 20 Hz. Infra-sound is deemed to be excessive when measurements inside of dwellings, using instruments suitable for sound pressure measurements at frequencies of 0.1 Hz to 20 Hz identify blade pass tones and their harmonics, present during wind turbine operation, when the following conditions are present and limits are exceeded:

i) Tests inside a dwelling at locations associated with complaints show that there is a tone at the blade pass frequency (or its harmonics) during periods of wind turbine operation that are not present when wind turbines are not operating confirms the presence of wind turbine blade pass tones and/or harmonics.

ii) If the blade pass tone, or any of its harmonics, produce a sound pressure level of 50 dB or more when energy averaged over a period of one to several minutes or more, and,

iii) The crests (peaks) of the sound pressure exceed this average by 10 dB or more.

(e) No Wind Facility shall make, cause or permit the emission of LFN, where the difference between a C-weighted sound level and an A-weighted sound level is greater than 15 decibels at any measurement point inside or outside an occupied structure, or the difference between an un-weighted sound level (including Infra-sound from 0.1 Hz and above, using an instrument rated to measure Infra-sound down to 0.1 Hz) and an A-weighted sound level is greater than 20 decibels at any such measurement point.

(f) No Wind Facility shall make, cause or permit infrasonic barometric pressure disturbance (IBPD), where any cyclic pressure disturbance having amplitude at any given frequency in the stated frequency range exceeds 2 milli-Pascals RMS (0.002 Pascal RMS) for a repeatable duration of 10 seconds or more in any 40-second period.

i) Given frequency: Means an identifiable repetition rate, which is continuous for the 10-second measurement, having at least 2 full cycles that exceed +/− 2.828 milli-Pascal peak (=0.002 Pa RMS). The IBPD measurements shall be made with doors and windows closed. Equivalence: 0.002 Pascal RMS is equivalent to 40dBZ. …

 Read a third time and finally passed this 8th day of October, 2014.

Download the original document here: “By-law to provide for the regulation of wind turbine noise within the Town of Plympton-Wyoming.”

wind farm noise

A move towards proper noise regulation at long last.

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Reblogged this on How Green Is This and commented:
    The direct link between very low-frequency turbine noise, sleep disturbance and annoyance was well and truly established by Neil Kelley & Co over 25 years ago

  2. cornwallwindwatch says:

    Reblogged this on Cornwall Wind Watch.

  3. It is about time that some goverment has seen sense, and it is not rocket science either. These windweasel and greentard goons are worse than the pirates of the high seas by a long shot.

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