David Dardi compared the noise coming from Scituate’s new wind turbine to the sound of a jet flying overhead.
“But it’s louder, and it doesn’t increase in sound and then decrease in sound like an airplane engine,” Dardi, 66, said. “It’s (consistently) there.”
Dardi is among roughly 30 Scituate residents who have asked the town’s board of health to shut down the wind turbine, located off the Driftway, because they say the turbine has negatively affected their health. They said they’ve lost sleep and suffered headaches, dizziness and nausea as a result of the turbine’s noise and shadow flicker.
The group collectively filed its complaints during the board of health’s meeting Monday.
“We’re taking it seriously,” Jennifer Sullivan, Scituate’s director of public health, said.
Sullivan said one of the three board of health members was not present Monday, so they will likely revisit the topic during their Oct. 15 meeting.
Dardi, a Gilson Road resident, lives about 3/4 of a a mile from the 1.5-megawatt turbine3/4, which became operational in March.
He said the turbine’s humming regularly wakes him up in the middle of the night, causes his ears to ring and gives him headaches. He said other residents living to the east, west and north of the turbine have experienced similar problems.
“All of us support alternate sources of energy, but unfortunately this wind turbine is creating problems, health problems to us, and there are children involved, too,” Dardi said.
Selectman Richard Murray, who lives down the street from Dardi on Collier Road, said he rarely hears the turbine when he’s outside.
“When I hear people say that it (the turbine) sounds like a jet plane and that it keeps them up at night, I’m a little skeptical,” Murray said. “In my personal opinion – actually, it’s a fact – it’s far less noisy than a car going by on the street.”
The turbine, located next to the town’s wastewater treatment plant, is owned by Scituate Wind, a private joint-venture between Solaya Energy LLC and Palmer Capital Corporation. It cost about $4 million to build, and it’s expected to save the town about $250,000 in annual energy costs.
Murray said the turbine was the topic of many town meetings in recent years, giving residents and town officials a platform to voice any concerns.
“This was a publicly vetted process that was supported by a vast majority of the town,” Murray said.
Dardi, who has lived in Scituate for 35 years, said he was largely unaware of all town business during the past six years because he was often in Florida to care for his ailing mother.
Sullivan said there are lot of environmental factors that need to be identified before the health department can propose a solution to the residents’ complaints.
“It’s difficult for us because it’s a new industry,” Sullivan said. “The noise seems to be related to wind direction and speed, and that can change daily and seasonally, and we haven’t even had a full year to know how it’s different from one season to the next.”
Sullivan said she plans to confer with a representative from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, who is currently investigating similar complaints in Kingston.
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