May 17, 2012
Massachusetts, Noise

Attended Sampling of Sound from Wind Turbine 1, Falmouth, MA

Mass. Department of Environmental Protection

Executive Summary

This report presents the results of attended sound sampling of Falmouth’s Wind Turbine #1 located at the Waste Water Treatment Facility on Service Road in East Falmouth. In September, 2011 the town of Falmouth requested the Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to conduct sound sampling of Falmouth’s Wind #1 turbine in response to numerous noise complaints from neighbors. This sampling augments the unattended sound study conducted by the Town’s consultants in the summer of 2010.

In order to quantify the impact of the turbine under the worst-case scenario operating¬∑ conditions, MassDEP technicians took samples from five separate residential locations during nighttime hours (when ambient noise is quietest). The sampling protocol was designed to try to capture sound for the “worst case” conditions in the area of Wind #1 while monitoring sound that could be directly attributable to Wind #1. This approach is typical of what MassDEP .does when conducting a sound survey for purposes of determining compliance with the MassDEP noise policy.

Over the course of four nights, MassDEP conducted sound sampling with Wind #1 operational at five residential locations close to the wind turbine. Data was also collected for background sound without turbine operations. Because the sampling was attended, the study was able to focus directly on sound from the wind turbine without interference from other sound sources.

The results of the field sampling indicate that Wind #1 exceeds 10 decibels above background sound levels during nighttime hours, which is the limit above which MassDEP considers a noise a nuisance regulated by MassDEP’s noise regulation (31 0 CMR 7.1 0) and MassDEP’s noise policy. The noise exceedance was found at one location under both high and low wind conditions.

Based upon the same sampling data, this report indicates that octave band analysis for pure tone is inconclusive.

Attended Sampling of Sound from Wind Turbine #1, Falmouth, MA [1]

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