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Falling test towers leave residents concerned  

A subject voiced at the March 8 Fairfield Town Council meeting was that a wind test tower located off Davis Road was beginning to fall apart, according to Jim Salamone, a resident living close by.

He said he voiced his concerns at the meeting to Town Supervisor Frank Matthews and Codes Enforcement Officer Frank Ceneviva, because he was worried that the area’s many children might get curious and investigate the situation. He said he was told that the tower, put up as recently as January, would be inspected by the company that owns it, and others in its vicinity would also be looked at. He said he was also informed that no one should be in the area that the test towers are in.

“Kids are going to be kids,” Salamone said. “There are no “˜Posted’ signs or “˜No Trespassing’ signs anywhere on that site, and kids snowmobile and four-wheel around there. Someone could get hurt out there. There’s wires all over the place, and that is an extremely dangerous situation.”

However, Salamone said, since the last meeting and within the last few days, another tower, which was put up about two years ago near Davis Road, began to fall apart. A large portion of it is hanging by a mere cable, close to 100 feet above ground.

“If that falls down when someone’s over there,” he said, “who’s responsibility is it going to be? One of them is bent over like a pretzel – that stressing point must be weakening it. Those towers should be looked at structurally.”

Salamone called the town again on Wednesday and only received a response from the codes enforcer, who told him that the second tower’s damage was the responsibility of the owner, Atlantic Renewable Energy Corporation.

Ceneviva said he was not in charge of permitting for that particular tower.

“If these test towers can’t be maintained,” Salamone said, “how are they going to maintain the wind turbines when they come in?”

Salamone said he feels that the wind test towers, in the condition they are in, not only do not serve a purpose and are dangerous, but they are a landscape eyesore as well. “Just yesterday I had company over and they pointed out those towers very quickly. It’s dangerous, useless when broken and it depreciates the value of our view here at home,” he said. “When I have company, this is what they’re looking at.”

The Evening Times was unable to reach Matthews for comment.

Jan Johnson, spokeswoman and communications director of PPM Energy, which acquired Atlantic Renewable, said that the company knows of at least one meteorological wind tower that collapsed in a remote location about three-fourths of a mile off the road, under ice load.

“We secured the tower from collapse and determined that it posed no danger to the public,” she said. “We have made arrangements for a new tower and have scheduled the take-down process for the old one and reinstallation of the new one for next week.”

“We learned that a second tower collapsed Thursday under ice and high wind loads,” Johnson continued. “It was up for more than three years, and was serviced in February. This is being repaired with the other one next week. The reason it’s been delayed is because there has been two to three feet of snow in the area, and the snow coverage was an issue. We checked with the landowner right away and he couldn’t get to it either.”

Johnson said the area the towers are on is not public property. “Almost all of the towers are on someone else’s property. They’re on leased property and we have been working with the landowner to fix the problem,” she said.

By Dana C. Silano
Evening Times Staff Writer


6 April 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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