On June 14 the Parishville Town Board will decide whether to adopt a new law regarding wind development. The Hopkinton Town Board will also be making their decision in the near future. In the year since the North Ridge Wind Project was proposed, many have taken the time to research the importance of setbacks and decibel levels.
They are key to preventing negative health impacts caused by improper siting of industrial wind turbines, and are definitely related to each other. The levels of infrasound, noise, and vibration that disturb sleep and cause other health problems are brought about by many factors.
Noise moves out from turbines, so it can be worse farther out than right under them. In a Wisconsin study, infrasound and low frequency tones were documented as far as 6.2 miles from the nearest wind turbine, with complaints associated with the infrasound generating as far as 4.2 miles away.
Bedrock will conduct vibration, especially when towers are drilled into and attached to it.
Topography and forest cover can block, or funnel, sound toward “sensitive sound receptors” (humans and animals).
Weather conditions and temperature affect wind turbine noise – cold air, warm air, inversions, unsettled or gusty winds, can all increase turbulence and noise.
Electrical power output of the turbine is directly related to the sound power (noise) output. This has caused many problems in other wind projects, particularly when larger turbines are used than originally planned, as in Cohocton, New York.
Since the noise emitted from wind turbines is hard to predict and control, one way to protect surrounding residents from ill effects is to regulate the decibel level where it is received. “Vermont’s Public Service Board has recently issued a rule that sets a night-time level of 35 dBA (audible decibels). The best solution for protection from infrasound is distance. The Vermont PSB rule sets ten times the total height setback, or 5,000 feet for 500 foot turbines, the same as Germany.”
For this reason, we urge residents of Parishville, Hopkinton, and surrounding areas to attend upcoming meetings and support wind laws that protect our peace, quiet, and ability to sleep.
This can be accomplished with a maximum nighttime decibel level of 35 dBA, setbacks of at least 2,500 feet or five times the turbine height, whichever is greater, and strong enforcement mechanisms and penalties for failure to comply.
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