August 15, 2013

Fairhaven DEP turbine test finds another violation

DEP turbine test finds another violation | By Ariel Wittenberg | August 15, 2013 |

FAIRHAVEN – Testing of Fairhaven’s two wind turbines in June found one more violation to the state’s noise regulations, according to the Department of Environmental Protection.

Sound from the two turbines “slightly exceeded” the state’s 10-decibel noise threshold during sampling conducted June 3 at Pierce’s Point Road, according to a letter sent by DEP Deputy Commissioner Martin Suuberg to the Fairhaven Boards of Health and Selectmen.

According to state noise regulations, a noise source cannot be more than 10 decibels louder than background noise. Testing at Pierce’s Point with south and southwest winds showed the turbines were 10.2 decibels louder than background noise.

The state did not find any violations during testing at Shawmut Street and Mill Road.

In his letter, Suuberg cautioned against readers using the data to make broad statements about the turbines.

Noting that the agency has more sampling to do, Suuberg called the results “preliminary”

“(They are) based upon a limited number of sampling dates under limited conditions and should not be considered to be conclusive of all wind conditions,” he wrote.

The violation found at Pierce’s Point Road is the fourth violation found by the DEP. In testing conducted over the winter, violations were found at Little Bay Road, Pierce’s Point Road and Teal Circle during winds blowing from northwest and northeast.

The latest violation comes just weeks after the Board of Health revoked a June order to shut down the two turbines overnight.

The Board of Selectmen is currently negotiating its contract with turbine developer Fairhaven Wind to avoid future violations, and Suuberg wrote in his letter that he expects “that those mitigation measures can be used to address these conditions, as well.”

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