We’d like to share more information with Woodstock residents about the noise of wind turbines, which is the issue of most concern to those living near the Spruce Mountain facility. We described how our proposed Wind Ordinance will address this issue in a Letter to last week’s Citizen.
People’s responses to noise vary across a wide range. In our feedback from people living near the turbines on Spruce Mountain we learned that some don’t hear them, some hear them and aren’t particularly disturbed by the noise, and some find the noise to be annoying, disruptive of sleep, contributory to health issues and destructive of the quiet, rural nature of the community and their appreciation of their homes and property.
The noise from commercial wind turbines is very complex and therefore different from most other noises to which people are accustomed. The noise is often described as a combination of:
a “jet flying overhead” noise that doesn’t pass by;
a “whoomp” noise – a large thumping increase in the volume of all of the noise coming from the turbines, timed about once per second at roughly the time each blade of the turbine passes the upright mast of the tower; and
an “industrial motor” noise – sort of like the sound of a cement mixer truck operating a hundred yards away.
Wind turbines also produce low frequency “sound pressure” which is below the range of human hearing and is “felt,” rather than “heard,” as a continual or thumping pressure in the chest or inner ear. It is experienced by perhaps a third of people who hear turbine noise and can result in headache, dizziness, nausea, migraine and sleep disturbance, with its consequent negative health effects.
We feel that the state has not adequately measured nor enforced its noise limits, but rather relies on the facility operator to measure and report noise. Consequently we have created a process of town oversight and enforcement, and the means for the developer to cover the costs to the town, as we explained in last week’s Citizen.
We invite Woodstock residents to go to our online site at: http://woodstockwindordinance.Blogspot.com the effects of the noise at the Mars Hill and Vinalhaven wind facilities, and other relevant information. We welcome your questions and comments via e-mail at bpwindcomm@oxford tworks.net. And invite you to the Public Hearing at 6 p.m. on Feb. 26 at the Woodstock Town Office.
Bob Elliott, for the Woodstock Wind Energy Ordinance Committee – Charlie Reiss, Denise Hall, Dennis Poland and Marc Wentworth
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