KINGSTON – If Mary O’Donnell’s three wind turbines are out of compliance with the state’s noise regulation, what is the Board of Selectmen going to do about it?
That’s the question Country Club Way resident Tim Dwyer sought to have answered Tuesday night as he presented his case that the turbines are clearly out of compliance, in violation of No Fossil Fuel’s Power Purchase Agreement with the town.
Selectmen took no action, but Dwyer said he appreciated the time they gave him to make his case. He said he’s confident that as they take a closer look at the documentation he provided, there will be no question the turbines are out of compliance.
While declaring the No Fossil Fuel Inc. owner in default would likely start a legal battle, Dwyer said selectmen can and should use the binding legal agreement as leverage to issue an order that she submit to compliance testing. He said the burden of compliance rests on her.
He implored selectmen to use their authority to right a wrong and protect the families affected by the noise from the O’Donnell turbines by requiring compliance testing under the direction of the state Department of Environmental Protection.
“I’m asking for your help,” he said. “You have the leverage; you have the authority; you have the obligation.”
Dwyer shared documentation he says shows that O’Donnell knew from the start that her turbines were going to violate the DEP noise regulation. He said there’s a correlation between rotor diameter and sound, and that the sound study she commissioned for even smaller turbines showed the smaller turbines would be out of compliance.
He also presented documentation he first provided to selectmen in May showing the results of sound measurements taken by noise control engineers he and other affected residents hired to assess O’Donnell’s turbines. This study was conducted by Noise Control Engineering of Billerica.
Noise Control Engineering Vice President Michael Bahtiarian also spoke with selectmen about the results he says demonstrate that the turbines are in violation. He said the turbine noise levels increase the broadband sound level by more than 10 decibels above the ambient or background noise, which triggers a violation, with measurements of 12 to 16 decibels and 13 to 22 decibels above background.
He also addressed some of the DEP’s criticisms of the sound assessment. At no time, however, Bahtiarian said, did DEP say the study’s results were invalid.
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