A second study of the effects of the Scituate Wind turbine has been planned.
Tom Thompson, often acting as the spokesman for a group of residents living near to the turbine referred to as the Community Group, made the announcement to the Scituate Board of Health during its meeting on March 25.
This came shortly before Gordon Deane, president of Palmer Capital Corporation, the manager of Scituate Wind, LLC, gave an update to the board on the status of any Request for Proposals (RFP) received in connection with an acoustical study the board of health agreed to commission, and which Scituate Wind would finance.
According to Thompson, the Community Group decided to conduct its own study “given the inadequate scope of the study supported by the board of health.”
“We determined that it was best to commission a study that took the more appropriate scope consistently espoused by the Community Group,” he said.
The board of health agreed to have an acoustical study performed after residents complained that noise and flicker from the 400-foot turbine located off the Driftway was responsible for headaches, dizziness, nausea, and sleep deprivation, among other negative health affects, they have experienced since the turbine went online in the spring of 2012.
After several meetings of a steering committee, which was comprised of members of the community group, board of health and the wind turbine manager, it was clear the group would not come to a compromise.
The Community Group has long stated that in addition to the acoustical study, other factors – including shadow flicker – should also be studied.
“We will be looking for the acoustician to conduct a study that essentially reflects the approach presented in our Steering Committee scope of work from January 2013, including focus on low frequency sound, infrasound and aerodynamic amplitude modulation,” Thompson said.
Thompson said the Community Group wants to conduct their study at the same time as the Scituate Wind study to “ensure the consistency of conditions, i.e., wind speed, wind direction, etc.”
“We also want to ensure that we receive the operational data from the industrial wind turbine, otherwise known as SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) to confirm the operational integrity of the wind turbine during testing,” he said.
Deane said that two engineering firms send proposals to the board of health regarding the acoustical study – one from Tech Environmental of Waltham, and one from Noise Control Engineering of Billerica.
He said Scituate Wind felt that Tech Environmental was the more qualified of the two.
“Scituate Wind had questions about how Noise Control Engineering proposed to conduct the study, along with its proposed timeline,” he said.
Scituate Board of Health Chairperson Russell Clark said a special meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 29 to interview the firms interested in conducting the study.
Deane said questions were passed along to the board of health and will presumably be addressed during the interview process.
Additionally, he said there remains a need to better understand each company’s approach and understanding of the work they will perform. Something, he said, that will also be discussed during the interviews.
As for the Community Group proposing their own study, Deane said the group is “welcome to sample alongside the engineers selected by Scituate Wind for sampling, as long as they are not interfering.”
Clark said there would be no problem with the studies being done simultaneously as long as the two companies could work together, as the Community Group would like.
“More information from different angles could be helpful to a decision,” he said.
Thompson said the Community Group “has not awarded the final contract to an acoustician nor determined final pricing.”
“As with everything else so far, we as a community will be forced to bear the cost,” he said, adding it is hoped “an accurate analysis” will result from the Community Group study.
Clark said he believes that all sides involved, whether in agreement with one another or not, have been “very patient” with the process.
“Ideally, this study should have been done earlier this year,” he said. “The board had at least two and possibly three meeting cancellations due to weather during this process.”
He said he is looking forward to the interviews on March 29.
“If both companies are present then it’s possible we’ll be making a decision that night and moving on to seeing the fieldwork done, and the results presented,” he said.
[Extra: 959watd.com: Scituate resident Tom Thompson speaks with WATD’s Dave Skill about “The Neighbors of the Scituate Industrial Wind Turbine” hiring a company – E-Coustic Solutions – to conduct their own wind turbine study:]
Download MP3 file.
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