Life with Industrial Wind Turbines in Wisconsin: Part 5
By courtesy of Rock County Tax-Payers for a Better Renewable Energy Plan
Interview with Gerry Meyer, Byron, Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin. See transcript below (again, thanks to Better Plan). Click here for the Meyer family’s daily log of the wind turbine noise and its effects.
GERRY: Well I’ve been keeping a daily log and I think it was March 5th the turbine that is 1560 feet behind our house was turned on. I didn’t know it at first. I walked out of the door and when I walked down the sidewalk and I heard the sound of a jet flying over so I’m looking up in the sky for this jet. Well it wasn’t a jet. It was the turbine going.
So the majority of the time it sounds like a jet going over. Sometimes the whooosh whooosh whooosh of the blades turning around.
We have another turbine that’s about 2800 feet across the road and at times that one is just as loud as the one behind our house. In all we hear five of them from our house.
Q: Have you noticed any change in your quality of life because of the noise, or has anyone in your family noticed any change in their quality of life?
Last Saturday seemed to be the loudest when all five of them were running. At one point I was walking across the yard, I had a little funny feeling, I don’t know, a different feeling inside of my head kind of like after you get off a roller coaster, you’re not completely stable.
We have a 13 year old son we adopted through social services who has a lot of issues, emotional issues, health issues, and a couple days after the turbine started turning– the one behind our house– he had headaches for about three or four days, pretty strong headaches– and he’s on an unusual program at school because of discipline. Level four being the best, he can stay in the class room with other students. Level three he’s in a special ed room, level two he’s in the special ed room but segregated from the other children and level one he’s in a different room, kind of like solitary confinement. And after these headaches he went from level four down to level one and two for almost two weeks.
He’d come home and tell us, he’d tell the principal, tell his teachers that he felt his head was spinning a hundred miles an hour. So we can’t prove at this time that it’s from the turbines but we’re thinking there’s a connection.
When we first heard that the turbines were going to be built in our area my wife was especially concerned because our son is kind of like Radar on “Mash”– he hears a siren, tells us there’s a siren, but we don’t hear any siren, then a couple of seconds later sure enough the fire department is out or there’s an ambulance run taking place.
Q: What has the interaction with the local officials– either township or county– been with its residents?
I think most of the ground work had taken place before the residents were aware. I think the energy people had visited the counties, the towns, and it was cut and dry. And then there was a few local residents who caught wind of it and attended meetings and tried to tell the town officials– here it’s a very small township– there’s a chairman and two supervisors– we’re in the town of Byron, Fond du Lac County, it’s the southern edge of Fond du Lac County.
Q: When you talk to the neighbors in this area, what’s the general consensus, are they satisfied with the project?
I think some of the farmers feel they were mislead. And after they signed the contract the energy company pretty much walked all over their land. They didn’t build roads in a common sense manner, they stayed off of fence lines– in some cases they went along the fence line and then cut diagonally across the field. I was at the first meeting when the energy company came and said maybe there would be an acre to two acres of land being disturbed on each site. And if you take the width of the road and the distance– some of them are a quarter to a half mile off the main road, they’re disturbing quite a bit of land.
Q: Are there a lot of homes out here that turbines are situated close to?
I would say yes. The majority of the turbines would be close to homes. The set back is 1000 feet. However we’re 1500 feet and 2400 feet and we hear them and to me they are a real nuisance. And 2500 feet should be a minimum.
Q: Under state guidelines they can come closer to your home.You’re already being affected by the distance they’re at now. At a thousand feet, what do you think, would they be unbearable?
I would think, in time, from what I’ve heard, that the low frequency noise, something we may not hear or be aware of, but it’s in the air, and our bodies feel it even though sometimes consciously we’re not hearing or feeling it. There’s one that’s about three quarters of a mile from my house, last Friday my son woke up at 1:30, I saw the light on and I sent him to bed, and I could hear something, I went into our family room and I could hear Turbine #6 which is three quarters of a mile away, inside my house. To me, that shouldn’t be.
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