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Waterloo wind farm owner to participate in EPA SA’s study into infrasound levels

EnergyAustralia will participate in an Environmental Protection Authority study into infrasound levels at its Waterloo wind farm in the state’s mid-north.

The wind farm operator yesterday confirmed it would take part in the EPA’s two-month investigation, due to begin in April, which will look to resolve whether the Waterloo wind farm has increased infrasound levels at surrounding properties.

Infrasound is sound below 20 Hertz that is not generally audible to the human ear.

EnergyAustralia said it would assist the EPA by providing operational and meteorological data, and would also shut down the wind farm for short periods if requested to enable researchers to obtain accurate readings of background noise levels in the region.

“While we will be providing information and data to the EPA, we wholeheartedly acknowledge the need for this study to be conducted independently,” EnergyAustralia wind farm operation manager Steve Brown said.

“It will also be important for the community that the investigation be conducted at arm’s length from us and other interest groups.”

The 37 turbine wind farm, 30km southeast of Clare, has been the subject of complaints from a number of local residents who claim noise and vibrations from Waterloo are causing insomnia and other ailments.

The Waterloo study comes on the back of a recent EPA report suggesting low level noise produced by wind turbines appeared to have an “insignificant” impact on neighbouring properties.

EPA director of science and assessment Peter Dolan said last week the Waterloo study would add to the authority’s understanding of noise from wind farms and help to address resident’s concerns.

EnergyAustralia said the study would also generate useful information on infrasound output from a wind turbine model – the Vestas V90 – that was not included in the recent EPA report and which makes up about 20 per cent of all turbines installed in Australia.

EnergyAustralia’s commitment to participate in the study comes as The Australian reported yesterday that a federal magistrate had ruled that wind farms slash the value of surrounding properties during a court case centring on a property in rural Victoria.

However, South Australian valuers contacted by The Advertiser yesterday said they had no specific evidence this had taken place in South Australia.