KEYSER – A Tasker Road resident who says the noise from the 23 wind turbines at Pinnacle Wind Farm often wakes him up at night presented the Mineral County Commissioners Tuesday with a petition seeking relief from the situation.
Richard Braithwaite also told the commissioners that the 75 persons who signed the petition are unhappy with the repair and/or resurfacing of both Pinnacle and Tasker roads now that the bulk of heavy construction is concluded.
Brad Christopher, site manager with Edison Mission, which operates the wind farm, told the commissioners, however, that Edison commissioned a study of the noise level, but has not yet received the results of the tests.
In addition, a representative from the company is scheduled to meet with several of the residents today to discuss their complaints.
“If you turn the turbine one way, it sounds like a railroad train,” Braithwaite told the commissioners. “If you turn it another way, you hear the whine.
“The noise wakes me up; I can’t sleep,” he said.
“It’s so loud … you can’t drown it out with the television or anything.”
Braithwaite told the commissioners he had used a meter to measure the level of noise on different occasions.
“Inside my house it’s been over 60 (decibels). Not every night, but most nights,” he said. “It has been as high as 83.”
According to OSHA, 30 decibels can cause “sleep disturbance and annoyance” at night, while 50 decibels is considered an annoyance and can cause interference with normal conversation inside a living area.
As for the roads, Braithwaite said the residents of Pinnacle Road “are very unhappy. They thought they were getting a new road.”
Although scheduled to be tar-and-chipped, Tasker Road was resurfaced with “nothing but gravel,” and later, he said, “they scraped the gravel off and made it a whole lot safer.”
Christopher agreed that the gravel surface on Tasker Road was not a good idea.
“It was a really lousy job; it will be redone in the spring,” he said, noting that it is currently too late in the year to properly resurface it with tar and chip.
“I’m not sure of the status of Pinnacle Road; it will be revisited in the spring,” he said.
Christopher also told the commissioners that Paul Weiss, vice president of commercial management with Edison, is scheduled to be at Pinnacle today and Thursday to discuss residents’ concerns. He already has appointments with several of them, including Braithwaite.
Any other residents wishing to make an appointment may call Maria Litos, director of commercial management, in the California office at 714-513-8050.
Unfortunately, the turbines may not be turning when Weiss is here. According to Christopher, the turbines were shut down due to a software issue with Mitsubishi.
“They should be back up soon,” he said.
In the petition presented to the commissioners, the residents asked that the turbines be shut down between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. to to allow area residents to sleep.
In addition, they asked that the Mineral County Commission not sign any future decommissioning agreements for additional development of Pinnacle or any other wind farm in the county.
Noting that “we understand there are plans for two more projects in our county,” the petition stated, “We request and insist that you develop a policy and publicly state that you will no longer sign a decommissioning agreement for other proposals to establish industrial wind turbines in this county.”
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