LEWES – Since its blades first started spinning June 11, the University of Delaware’s wind turbine has become a city landmark and is already providing some clean power to campus facilities.
However, for some residents, the structure’s majesty is overshadowed by its noise.
Janice Pinto, who lives on Rodney Avenue, compares the sound to “a jet engine that won’t land.”
“Neighbors are awakened … I’m concerned,” she said. “I think environmental government controls need to protect citizenry from noise pollution.”
At an Aug. 19 question-and-answer session, university officials tried to ease community concerns.
Nancy Targett, dean and professor of Marine Biosciences at the College of Earth, Ocean and Environment, said she is seeking feedback from residents that experience noise pollution so the university can address these issues.
“We want to be good neighbors,” she said. “That’s why we did extensive studies prior to construction. Now we need data from (residents) so we can attempt to fix any problems.”
Dave Strong, senior project manager from the New York-based Sustainable Energy Developments Inc., said an acoustic study based on “worst case conditions” was conducted last year and found that the UD wind turbine is 15 to 20 decibels below Delaware’s regulatory limit.
“The worst conditions would be the turbine at its loudest, with residents always down wind of the structure,” he said. “We also assume the sound bends down toward the houses, which happens very rarely.”
Strong added that this does not mean residents don’t hear the turbine, rather acoustic levels are well below standards.
Concerns surrounding Wind Turbine Syndrome – a condition not recognized by the Centers for Disease Control with symptoms such as sleep disorders, heart disease, panic attacks and headaches – were also addressed.
Resident Gerald Lechliter said the university did not make residents aware of WTS before constructing the turbine.
“We should have been told,” he said.
Dr. Nina Pierpont, a pediatrician based out of New York, conducted a study of ten families that lived near wind turbines and claimed that eight moved away due to health issues caused by the structures.
Her book, “Wind Turbine Syndrome: A Report on a Natural Experiment” was published last year.
Jeremy Firestone, associate professor of Marine Policy and Legal Studies at UD, said Pierpont’s findings are not based on scientific fact.
“Her samples were self-selected, the study was not published in a peer review journal and the book was self-published,” he said.
Firestone also pointed out that two reports, both released this year by government agencies in Canada and Australia, concluded there is no evidence to support the notion of WTS.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding