KINGSTON – Kingston Wind Independence wants to run its turbine under low-noise mode as a means of operating within the constraints set by the Board of Health in its abatement order for excessive noise.
But the Board of Health wants to know exactly what that means, and it wants that information in writing before it takes any action to amend the order of abatement that went into effect last August.
The board has set Monday, Aug. 17, as a potential date for a public hearing to consider amending the order. That’s after the release of a final report on the final results of the acoustical monitoring study. The study results are expected to be released at the end of July.
But a hearing on abatement options will go forward whether or not the board has the information it has requested from KWI, Board of Health Chairman Bill Watson said.
“Once the final final report is in and it does show the turbine is exceeding the noise level at certain times, this board’s going to have to deal with that,” he said.
The abatement order presently specifies that as a form of abatement for the turbine generating noise at excessive levels, KWI may either shut the turbine down or employ a low-noise mode during specific hours and under specific conditions.
Those hours are from midnight to 4 p.m. throughout the year when wind is blowing from a south or south/southwest direction in excess of 8 meters per second at the turbine hub. Low-noise mode slows the turbine.
If KWI employs low-noise mode, the order requires that the company conduct a noise study within 90 days of implementation to confirm that the turbine is in compliance with state Department of Environmental Protection noise regulations, standards and policies.
Watson had a conference call last week with town counsel, DEP and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center that receives funding from the state’s Renewable Energy Trust Fund to provide assistance to the town and project owner to address turbine concerns.
Watson said MassCEC will no longer provide its services because it does not have the funding. The board discussed hiring its own acoustical engineer to analyze and verify the results of the study.
Board of Health member Jack Breen said the board should act quickly to move to hire a consultant. Watson said a decision about the consultant can be made after the final report has been released. The consultant would review the report and the information the board has requested from KWI.
An interim report on the sound study was released in June 2014, and a technical report was released in April. The Board of Health met last month to review those results. The deadline for the submission of written comments about the report released in April was June 30. A summary of the comments will be released before the final report.
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