Melissa Ware – Wind Industry Victim on the Malice & Cruelty of Pacific Hydro & Others

Melissa Ware tears strips off Pacific Hydro, its cronies & apologists.

 

It takes a special kind of malice to deny the suffering of people like Melissa Ware, totally unnecessary suffering caused by wind turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound.

Melissa is just one of Pacific Hydro’s numerous tragic victims at Cape Bridgewater, Victoria – where the Labor/Union backed outfit – run by former union heavy Gary Weaven – runs another non-compliant wind farm that’s been driving the neighbours to hell and back for almost 9 years now (see our post here).

Melissa Ware described her experiences of living next to the Cape Bridgewater wind farm to Acoustical Society of America’s most recent conference in New Orleans.

Melissa not only ripped into Pacific Hydro for its malicious treatment of the families neighbouring its Cape Bridgewater public health disaster, she excoriated Geoff Leventhall.

Once upon a time, Leventhall was a key proponent of public health, arguing for regulations to limit people’s exposure to noise, low-frequency noise, in particular.

Then he hopped into bed with the wind industry. Since then, he’s been merrily singing for his supper.

As one of the wind industry’s most vocal advocates, Leventhall has determined wind turbines can do no wrong – which probably has more to do with his handsome wind industry retainer, than any serious scientific investigation, on his part.

As we reported in December, Australia’s Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) held that “noise annoyance” caused by wind turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound “is a plausible pathway to disease”. The AAT also slammed wind turbine noise standards as irrelevant and, therefore, totally unfit for purpose: Australian Court Finds Wind Turbine Noise Exposure a ‘Pathway to Disease’: Waubra Foundation Vindicated

That AAT utterly rejected the kinds of ‘arguments’ put forward by the likes of Leventhall and his mate, the tobacco advertising guru – viz, that the well-documented effects of wind turbine noise exposure are all a figment of febrile imaginations. But don’t expect him to apologise or change his tune, any time soon.

Indeed, most of what Leventhall has had to say is either lifted from the wind industry playbook or pure speculation on his part; the latter made very clear in Melissa’s address to the conference (set out in this video – transcript and slides follow):

 

Wind Turbines Cape Bridgewater: A Resident’s Perspective
174th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America
Melissa Ware and Steven Cooper
7 December 2017

Melissa Ware: Good afternoon, I’m here to talk to you about my experiences living near a wind farm at Cape Bridgewater in Australia.

Cape Bridgewater is on the southern coast of Australia, at the bottom of Victoria.

I participated in the Cape Bridgewater acoustic study in cooperation with Pacific Hydro and six other residents. I’ve been medically diagnosed with hyperacusis following many acoustic shocks at the wind farm, and there’s ongoing problems which haven’t been resolved by the operators, the regulatory authorities or anyone.

These are some images of Cape Bridgewater looking across the bay, and the headland of Cape Bridgewater; the village with some of the turbines in the background.

This wind farm was built in 2008, there’s 29 turbines of two megawatts. They surround our house on the western and northwestern side. The house is made of solid limestone, with a tin roof and wooden floor, so it’s very solid. When the wind farm was built, we had no prior knowledge of health or acoustic impacts. I’ve been disturbed by the wind farm since it’s been built and we’ve been complaining for a long time.

This is a diagram of our house, it’s number 88 in the acoustic study. As you can see, we’re right near the southern section of the wind farm. The black dots are houses throughout the district.

Our house is that little white speck in the middle of those trees, and the turbines extend for quite some distance beyond that image. Trees surround our house, so we can’t see the turbines from either our front door or the bedroom windows.

I’m not going to read all this out, so if you’d like to read it, that would be good. Thank you. One thing I will say is that I’ve been medically advised to leave our house due to the impacts, so we’ve been gone two and a half years. We’ve had two other acousticians come and take measurements in our house and they have confirmed the existence of noise and the impacts on us. Pacific Hydro eventually acknowledged that there were problems. There was a screech which they’ve attributed to the turbine hubs. So that was how, through a consultation process, we were able to get Steven Cooper to come and do the study at Cape Bridgewater. The owners wanted to restore our life quality to before the wind farm, but they haven’t done so.

This is a picture of our kitchen and some of the monitoring equipment that Steven had set up. As you can see, there are lots of leads running through the house. So this is on the eastern side of the house, furthest from the turbines. There are also equipment on the western side of the house, in our bedroom and outside. That was there for seven weeks. We actually vacated the house for a couple of days in order not to add further sound to the instrumentation.

I’m just going to read this out. Contrary to some claims in the public domain, there are more than just six people being impacted by the wind farm. The budget limitations imposed by Pacific Hydro on the Cooper study restricted it to just six people. There were more people being impacted. We did ask for medical and sleep studies to be conducted concurrently, but Pacific Hydro refused.

I have the ability to sense the turbines without actually seeing them. I don’t hear them. During the study, we were making one to two-hourly observations into diaries, and then those observations were compared to the data that Steven was collecting, and that was also compared to the operational data provided by Pacific Hydro. The main finding of the Cape Bridgewater study was that there was a link between the sensations that the residents were feeling and when the turbines were powering up and powering down, when de-powering in high wind strengths.

Now, I’d just like to make it clear that the sensations I feel are not due to water moving in the caverns under the cape. It wasn’t a broken-down windmill up the road. It wasn’t wind in the trees. I don’t actually hear the wind in the trees when I’m inside the house. It’s not the nocebo theory and it’s not the illusory truth belief. I was sensing something that others in the house and perhaps in the area weren’t detecting, so I bought a set of Newton’s balls, because I knew what I was feeling even though other people couldn’t confirm it. The balls started moving, so that was a visual sign of what I was actually feeling.

At the end of the acoustic study, Pacific Hydro said there’d be no further steps to be taken to resolve the issues. They wouldn’t change any of the operations at the wind farm, they wouldn’t shut any of the turbines down. They rejected our complaints of the past six years and no efforts were made to assist us.

I have a hearing impairment. I’ve had this for 25 years, it’s a bilateral low-tone sensori-neural loss and it was due to a virus. This is not a common hearing loss. Usually people can hear low-pitch sounds, but I’m unable to.

I now experience high-pitch squeal, low-rumble sensations, and ear pain, only since the wind farm’s been built. I’ve been prescribed sleeping tablets, anxiety medication, and I’ve undertaken cognitive behavioural therapy, but none of that helps with the head and ear pain, or any of the other symptoms.

Which leads me to discuss Dr. Leventhall. He’s made a number of claims about me and people who are hearing-impaired. I’d like to say that Dr. Leventhall has no access to the number or nature of acoustical health complaints I’ve made to my doctors, the health or planning authorities. He can’t assess my physical or mental state. He hasn’t met me, and yet he makes public statements about me and people like me. He’s not my GP, he’s not my psychologist, he’s not my specialist, he’s not an acoustician. He hasn’t assessed me, and he should stop misrepresenting my experiences and the experiences of the deaf community living near wind farms.

Now, there’s been some factually incorrect statements, that the Cape Bridgewater wind farm is audible, and that we only get sensations and symptoms when we hear the turbines. I don’t hear the turbines, yet I have sensitization from the exposure. He kept saying that I can see and hear the turbines, but I can’t, yet I can predict with 100% accuracy what’s happening at the wind farm just from what I sense. He’s generalised about my deafness.

And as you can see from the following audiograms that it’s not true, that I can hear low-frequency noise.

Complaints have continued for six years without resolution, leading to stressed and unhappy complainants. That’s true, we’re not very happy because nothing’s been resolved. There’s been accusations that Mr. Cooper has said our distress is from infrasound, he’s never said that. I don’t hear what other people hear, I sense the pulses and vibrations, and at a level four or five when the impacts are worse, I’m desperate for those impacts to stop. There’s nowhere I can go within the house to escape those sensations. They’re not linked to audible noise but they are linked to turbine operations, including when those turbines are stopped and stationary in the wind.

I’ll let you read this. But I can just say that it’s not because of the presence of the wind turbines that we’re stressed. We actually supported the wind farm coming to the area.

Now, Mr. Leventhall said cognitive behavioural therapy reduces disturbance from noise through a process of desensitisation, and can improve sleep and quality of life. I’ve undergone CBT and let me assure you, it hasn’t helped me at all. So to blame our problems on a truth belief is a cruel deflection from the truth. 

So things like being marginalised by the nocebo effect, by being told that we’re too hostile, or that stress from just the presence of the turbines causes our health impacts, that’s not true. There is a new cross-sensitization to other noise sources. I’m now being impacted by traffic noise.

We’ve undertaken Steven Cooper’s recent study which he discussed earlier, and we can sense the pulses in his room without having any idea when the pulse is occurring.

This is a graph of strong amplitude modulation corresponding to sensation five in my diary, and we just ask that people recognise that people don’t leave their homes for no reason.

We support the Wind Turbine Working Group and we need authentic treatment and preventative measures put in place. So I request that you examine the Cape Bridgewater study and support the work of the Turbine Working Group. Thank you.

Chair: One quick question?

Questioner: What do you think causes your discomfort?

Melissa Ware: What do I think causes my discomfort? Amplitude modulation, when I’m feeling waves going through the ground, the house is vibrating, those vibrations cause me to wake up throughout the night. I have a thing called a ‘heart jump’, so maybe the startle reflex. I have headaches, which I don’t have when I’m not near low-frequency noise.

Download a PDF version of these slides.

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Jackie Rovensky says:

    For far too long there have been people who claim expertise and the right to denigrate others for speaking the truth. These people are fast becoming irrelevant as more and more of the truth is being exposed to ever greater numbers of people.
    How could these people think they have a right to demonise people reporting adverse health effects, while having nothing to substantiate their claims but vapid so called research, much of which has no bearing on the problems they are meant to be challenging, while ignoring the worthy work done by others who examine every aspect of these horrendous machines, to isolate the cause(s) of the harm being rort on communities.
    What gives these denigrators the right to claim the high moral ground when they haven’t shown an iota of understanding or acceptance these things are not the windmills of the past which didn’t have turbines inside, which were miniscule in comparison to the enormous mechanical machines we have today and are being placed in ever larger numbers within communities?
    Why are they paid to publish rot under the guise of academic plausibility, when what is published cannot stand up to independent unbiased assessment?
    We have many fine researchers and investigators who are working to help understand what is going on and to find a way to help those suffering, so why does the media constantly fall over themselves to seek ‘comment’ from those who have no understanding of the problems and have no intention of obtaining an understanding
    Could it be simply because they cannot face failure and being seen to hold a view without ever having to prove it, all the while expecting to be believed just because they so, because that is what is happening and much of the media is falling for the bluff and bluster.
    Mellissa and others are harmed daily by the cumulative harm these turbines have rort and it is still unknown just how many others have been affected. We will not know yet what harm has come to children exposed to the dangers of these massive machines.
    Yet, many of our academics, medical professionals, engineers, acousticians and political leaders are willing to expose people to the dangers so evident, for what purpose? The purpose can only be considered to be one of financial gain; otherwise it could be concluded those who continue to ignore the evidence can only be considered as willingly, purposefully causing damage to other human beings for no other reason than personal pleasure = degenerates.
    It gives me no pleasure in considering human beings of being like this but until they are willing to accept these things provide …’ a plausible pathway to disease” and take action to prevent further harm and address the damage that has been done, then no other reason can be considered.

  2. Matthew Cand says:

    At the start, you say that Australia’s Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) held that “noise annoyance” caused by wind turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound “is a plausible pathway to disease”.

    That is not correct. What they said: “noise annoyance is a plausible pathway to disease. We note the World Health Organization has stated: “There is sufficient evidence from large-scale epidemiological studies linking the population’s exposure to environmental noise with adverse health effects. Therefore, environmental noise should be considered not only as a cause of nuisance but also a concern for public health and environmental health””

    So you are mixing together conclusions on environmental noise, i.e. classic, audible noise that affects the population, with “low-frequency noise and infrasound”. This is a fundamental confusion.

    • No we’re not. Read the entire decision and you will cease to be confused. The evidence that was led and dealt with by the AAT primarily concerned wind turbine noise which is classic audible noise as you call it. And low frequency noise from wind turbines (like vibration from passing trucks) is most definitely audible.

      When you’ve read and understood the full decision we’d love to hear from you again.

  3. I am neither an MD or an acoustician. I am a student of this subject. I have been such, for a good ten years. What I have learned is that we all have the “fight, flight, freeze response” hardwired into us. I have learned that the vibrations and frequency modulations propagated by wind turbines will trigger this response. I have learned that frequent triggering of this response, without giving the person a chance to recover, will turn that person’s life into a nightmare, involving cardiac and mental consequences. It may manifest as hearing loss. It may appear as “heart jump”. It may appear as acute depression, sometimes leading to suicide. It may manifest, and frequently is reported as, sleep disturbance, where the sufferer is awakened from a dream of having been pursued by some monster. These people usually cannot get back to sleep. When you consider that such people may be going through this for years, it is not difficult to understand that their whole lives have been destroyed. This goes far beyond the dismissive “quality of life” issues that have been referred to. IF THE MEDICAL AND GOVERNMENT COMMUNITY FAILS TO ACT ON THIS KNOWLEDGE IT WILL BE THE PEOPLE’S RESPONSIBILITY TO CORRECT THIS!

  4. Reblogged this on Patti Kellar.

  5. Noel Dean says:

    I have not doubt that startle reflex has a large part to play. Startle by sudden noise or sudden movement both affect the inner ear startle can be initiated by either or both. The symptoms are identical in many ways like pain and stiffness of the neck, partial loss of neck control, headache that starts at the base of the skull, dizziness, fatigue, tinnitus, irritability, blurred visionmand depression – these all affect peoples’ quality of life. Some symptoms are also consistent with concussion, the only way when seeking treatment for whiplash is to completely remove oneself away from the cause of harm. Even though the Pyrenees Shire confirmed they had direct experience of a wind farm not being adequately regulated, and said there can be no doubt that dwellings in close proximity to wind turbines (within 2 kms ) have/will have the potential to be profoundly noise affected – to a point where amenity of their occupants will be seriously deminished.

    Council has established a protocol whereby it will require a site-specific Acoustic Impact Assessment to be prepared by proponents for dwellings in these noise affected areas.

    Like the Dean Report, Pyrenees Council minutes March 2013.

    So much for Mr Dyer closing complaints without evidence. The person building a home, like ourselves, are required to do the due diligence that council, the planning department and Acciona had failed to do.

    Noel Dean

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