Resource Documents: Ontario (88 items)
Documents presented here are not the product of nor are they necessarily endorsed by National Wind Watch. These resource documents are provided to assist anyone wishing to research the issue of industrial wind power and the impacts of its development. The information should be evaluated by each reader to come to their own conclusions about the many areas of debate.
Author: Mele, Christopher
A persistent noise of unknown origin, sometimes compared to a truck idling or distant thunder, has bedeviled a Canadian city for years, damaging people’s health and quality of life, numerous residents say.
Those who hear it have compared it to a fleet of diesel engines idling next to your home or the pulsation of a subwoofer at a concert. Others report it rattling their windows and spooking their pets.
Known as the Windsor Hum, this sound in Windsor, Ontario, near Detroit, is unpredictable in its duration, timing and intensity, making it all the more maddening for those affected.
“You know how you hear of people who have gone out to secluded places to get away from certain sounds or noises and the like?” Sabrina Wiese posted in a private Facebook group dedicated to finding the source of the noise.
“I’ve wanted to do that many times in the past year or so because it has gotten so bad,” she wrote. “Imagine having to flee all you know and love just to have a chance to hear nothing humming in your head for hours on end.”
Activists have done their own sleuthing.
Over six years, Mike Provost of Windsor, who helps run the Facebook page, has amassed more than 4,000 pages of daily observations about the duration, intensity and characteristics of the sound and the weather conditions at the time.
He has had to fend off skeptics and theorists who believe that the hum is related to secret tunneling, U.F.O.s or covert government operations, he said.
Mr. Provost, a retired insurance salesman, said his work was a blend of obsession and hobby. “I’ve got to keep going,” he said in a phone interview. “I’m not going to quit this.”
The hum is not limited to Windsor, a city of about 220,000 people on the Detroit River. Mr. Provost said he had received reports from McGregor, Ontario, 20 miles to the south, and from east of Cleveland, about 90 miles away.
Tracey Ramsey, a member of the Canadian House of Commons, said in a phone interview that she regularly gets calls from constituents about the health effects of the hum. Residents have complained of headaches, sleeplessness, irritability and depression, among other symptoms.
“It’s something they are desperate for an answer to,” she said.
Tracing the noise’s origins is complicated by who hears it, and when and where.
Tim Carpenter, a retired consulting engineer who specialized in geotechnical engineering and machine vibrations and is an administrator of the Facebook page, says not everyone can hear it.
“It’s as if you had a fire hose moving back and forth and the people who have the water falling on them hear the noise, and if you’re outside that stream, you don’t hear the noise,” he said.
Researchers have found no trends related to gender or age for the “hearers.”
Dr. Darius Kohan, the director of otology and neurotology at Lenox Hill Hospital and Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital, said that the low-frequency hum was unlikely to cause long-term hearing damage but that it could be as debilitating as tinnitus, a persistent ringing in the ears.
Scott Barton, an assistant professor of music at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, said in a phone interview that infrasound, which is below 20 hertz, can create a sense of unease because it is unintelligible to human hearing but still detectable. While it is possible to be accustomed to certain noises (the hum of an air-conditioner, for example), this low-frequency noise is challenging because it has been so inconsistent, he said.
Seeking intervention by government regulators for the hum is difficult because regulations typically address decibel levels that can lead to hearing loss or damage, not those that can affect quality of life, Rebecca Smith, a sound engineer and doctoral student at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, who researches urban noise, wrote in an email.
“Think about the sound of a dog barking,” she said. “It doesn’t need to be loud enough to physically damage you to be really annoying and distracting.”
The University of Windsor report said the hum’s likely source was blast furnace operations on Zug Island on the Detroit River, which is densely packed with manufacturing. Activists complained that United States Steel, which operates the furnaces, has been uncooperative and secretive. A company spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment.
A principal investigator on the study, Professor Colin Novak, told CBC News in 2014 that researchers needed more time and cooperation from the American authorities to pinpoint the source. “It’s like chasing a ghost,” he said.
Hums similar to Windsor’s have been reported in at least a dozen communities worldwide, including in Australia, England and Scotland, the study said. In the United States, high-profile hums have been reported in Taos, N.M., and Kokomo, Ind.
Researchers studied the Taos hum in 1993 but did not pinpoint a source. Karina Armijo, the town’s director of marketing and tourism, said in a telephone interview that complaints had subsided.
“I have never heard the Taos hum, but I’ve heard stories of the Taos hum,” she said. “There’s not been a lot of buzz about it in the last few years.”
A 2003 study in Kokomo by the acoustics and vibration consulting company Acentech prompted two industrial plants to install silencing equipment, providing relief to some residents but not all, a 2008 paper about the study said.
“In fact, one affected resident had become so disturbed that she moved more than 700 miles away to relieve her symptoms,” it said.
Mr. Carpenter said it was possible a major source of the Windsor hum could be eliminated and other mechanical sources would replace it, entering the “heard spectrum.”
“It’s possible that no matter what is done to relieve or attenuate the noise, it might never be enough,” he said.
—Christopher Meele, New York Times, Feb. 19, 2018
[NWW note: This story is reproduced here because the complaints are the same that many neighbors of large wind turbines make, and here they – as well as the physiologic effects of infrasound and low-frequency noise and the intrusive nature of pulsing noise (amplitude modulation), even at relatively low levels – are taken seriously. It might also be noted that across Lake St. Clair from Windsor there are hundreds of large wind turbines.]
Author: Palmer, William
Numerous papers, including some by this author, have identified what are dismissed with disdain as “anecdotal reports” of adverse impacts that occurred with the start up of wind turbines in the environment of those impacted. However, there is a solid basis for presenting such lists. It mirrors the approach taken by most medical doctors when a patient first presents himself or herself with a new adverse health complaint. Taking a patient “history” is the way most doctors begin. Similarly, engineers and problem solvers often begin to address a new problem by looking for changes that have occurred. Yet, some maintain there is no proof that the start up of the turbines was the change that caused the impact, even though the conditions diminish when the person vacates the area, and recur when the person returns. They may attribute it to the stress self-generated by refusing to accept a change. Ignoring those suffering will not result in solving the problem predicted by Kryter of people making real-life behavioral changes. The rigorous method established in this paper permits measuring the physical emissions (noise) from wind turbines, and confirming some aspects of the quality of the noise that are identified as problematic to demonstrate evidence of the cause for the suffering.
William K. G. Palmer, P.Eng., TRI-LEA-EM
7th International Conference on Wind Turbine Noise – Rotterdam – 2nd to 5th May 2017
Download original document: “A Rigorous Method of Addressing Wind Turbine Noise”
Author: Zimmerling, Ryan; and Francis, Charles
ABSTRACT: Wind turbines have been hypothesized to affect bat populations; however, no comprehensive analysis of bat mortality from the operation of wind turbines in Canada has been conducted. We used data from carcass searches for 64 wind farms, incorporating correction factors for scavenger removal, searcher efficiency, and carcasses that fell beyond the area searched to estimate bat collision mortality associated with wind turbines in Canada. On average, 15.5 ± 3.8 (95% CI) bats were killed per turbine per year at these sites (range = 0–103 bats/turbine/yr at individual wind farms). Based on 4,019 installed turbines (the no. installed in Canada by Dec 2013), an estimated 47,400 bats (95% CI = 32,100–62,700) are killed by wind turbines each year in Canada. Installed wind capacity is growing rapidly in Canada, and is predicted to increase approximately 3.5-fold over the next 15 years, which could lead to direct mortality of approximately 166,000 bats/year. Long-distance migratory bat species (e.g., hoary bat [Lasiurus cinereus], silver-haired bat [Lasionycteris noctivagans], eastern red bat [Lasiurus borealis]) accounted for 73% of all mortalities. These species are subject to additional mortality risks when they migrate into the United States. The little brown myotis (Myotis lucifugus), which was listed as Endangered in 2014 under the Species At Risk Act (SARA), accounted for 13% of all mortalities from wind turbines, with most of the mortality (87%) occurring in Ontario. Population-level impacts may become an issue for some bat species as numbers of turbines increase.
J. RYAN ZIMMERLING, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service, Gatineau, QC, Canada
CHARLES M. FRANCIS, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service, Ottawa, ON, Canada
The Journal of Wildlife Management; DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.21128
Volume 80, Issue 8, November 2016, Pages 1360–1369
Download original document: “Bat Mortality Due to Wind Turbines in Canada”
Author: Palmer, William
Introduction. A common regulatory acceptance criterion for wind turbine installation in Canada is that sound pressure level does not exceed 40 dBA outside a home when the wind speed at 10 metres elevation does not exceed 4 metres per second. A clue to the ineffectiveness of this criterion can be seen from over 2700 complaints filed in Ontario with regulators by residents living in homes where acoustic conditions were predicted in approved models to comply with the current criterion. Residents noted the intrusiveness of an imposed sound higher in amplitude and different in quality than the pre-existing background. Residents reported disrupted sleep, and adverse health consequences. Fundamental premises of Environmental Protection Acts (EPA) are that emissions of a contaminant such as noise should not cause an adverse effect including loss of enjoyment of normal use of property, or annoyance that lead to human health impacts. …
Discussion. The subject of amplitude modulation of wind turbine noise emissions (otherwise described as a cyclical noise rising and falling in magnitude) has been a principal focus of wind turbine noise international conferences in Glasgow (2015) and Denver (2013). Monitoring of the sound inside homes displays a different character than outside, showing pulses with peak to trough amplitudes exceeding 5 dB at frequencies that are within the audible range. A simple example shows that dBA weighting does not adequately reflect perception and annoyance. White noise at 40dBA has a very different perception than pink noise at 40 dBA.
William K.G. Palmer, TRI-LEA-EM, Paisley, Ontario
Canadian Acoustics – Acoustique canadienne Vol. 44 No. 3 (2016) – pp. 42-43
Download original document: “Considerations regarding an acoustic criterion for wind turbine acceptability”