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Residents seek health survey on impact of Webb turbine

Even if the two town-owned wind turbines at the wastewater treatment plant are removed, the conflicts related to wind turbines in Falmouth could be far from

Neighbors of the three largest wind turbines in Falmouth confronted the Falmouth Board of Health last night about conducting a survey concerning the turbines’ impact on health and sleep.

The neighbors said the town-owned turbines are only part of the problem, because the privately owned Notus Clean Energy wind turbine at Falmouth Technology Park also disturbs the sleep and health of residents.

The exchange came just after the regular meeting of the board of health ended in the Civil Defense room. Although the meeting had been adjourned, J. Malcolm Donald of Ambleside Drive, West Falmouth, and John J. Ford of Blacksmith Shop Road asked the board when they would discuss the wind turbine survey again.

They were told they could request in writing that the wind turbine health survey be placed on the board’s agenda in two weeks.

The request is significant because the Falmouth Board of Health has the power to shut down the privately owned turbine if they determine it is causing negative health impacts.

Before Mr. Donald and Mr. Ford arrived, the board had discussed tabling the health survey indefinitely following Falmouth Board of Selectmen’s decision to remove the two town-owned wind turbines at the wastewater treatment plant.

Chairman Gail A.Harkness said the survey would be unnecessary and asked if the board should vote on the decision.

Health agent David W. Carignan recommended that the board not vote, because they had not posted a discussion about the turbine health survey on the agenda.

“We’ll just leave it tabled and not talk about it,” said Dr. Harkness.

It was then that Mr. Donald, Mr. Ford and Linda H. Ohkagawa of West Falmouth Highway arrived and asked when the survey would be on the agenda again.

Dr. Harkness said the survey was meant to study the health impacts on neighbors who live near the turbines, but Falmouth Board of Selectmen had voted to support the removal of the turbines.

“What does it have to do with selectmen?” Mr. Donald asked. “If the turbines are removed, the health survey will be moot in that case,” Dr. Harkness said.

“There’s another turbine out there,” Mr. Donald said, “the Webb Turbine.”

Also in attendance was Daniel H. Webb, the owner of the Notus clean energy turbine, also referred to as the Webb Turbine, who did not comment.

“True, it is,” said Dr. Harkness, but it does not affect as many neighbors as the town-owned turbines. “How many dead bodies do you need?” Mr. Donald said.

The board of health has heard complaints about the health impacts of turbines for nearly three years since Wind 1 started turning in March 2010. Notus turbine started turning in June that year and Wind 2 started in February last year. All are 1.65-megawatt Vestas V82 models that stand 262 feet high at the hub.

The board of health attempted to study the impacts of the turbines using an online survey and a public hearing. Since last year the board has tried to develop a confidential survey to measure the health impacts on residents. The survey originally received support from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, but two weeks ago the board heard that the state department would no longer participate.