A living hell: one family’s wind turbine noise story

Brookfield Comber, seen October 2020 (supplied photo)

Just move—or maybe get tubes in your ears, family told by government officers

April 23, 2021

Among the desperate complaint documents provided to us following a request for Ontario wind turbine noise complaint records under Freedom of Information legislation is correspondence from one family that lives inside the Brookfield Comber project.

On the advice of their lawyer, they now file reports of excessive noise and adverse effects once a month, and they keep a daily log.

For the month of April 2018, this was their record:

  • 24 days the noise level was high pitched to unbearable high pitched
  • 4 days were medium pitched
  • 2 days were low and bearable

They concluded their report that month with “[redacted] noise inside your head 24/7 whenever the turbines are running … trying to live a normal life in your own home is not possible.” The described the noise on one complaint as being like “a dentist’s drill.”

TWO DAYS of the month were “bearable.” Just two.

May that year was a slightly better month for the family. Slightly.

The report:

  • 25 days the noise levels inside our home were high pitched to unbearable high pitched sound
  • 2 days were medium pitched
  • 4 were low bearable days.

Did they get any help from the power operator or the environment ministry? Here’s what the record says, in an email dated June, 2018:

“Following a letter we wrote to Mr Glenn Murray [then Minister of environment], we have been dealing with them [the then MOECC] concerning the Wind Turbine Infrasound we have been experiencing inside our home since 2012. …. After lengthy conversations, with two members of that office [Windsor] we were told our symptoms were that of infrasound but because the Ministry of Health does not consider that a health problems their hands were tied. Since then and after an Officer attended our home on January 19, 2018 and suggested perhaps we just just move, or get tubes in our ears to ease the pressure, they have now refused to acknowledge our monthly reports on the noise levels we are experiencing.”

FACT: the Renewable Energy Approvals granted to wind power projects in Ontario require that the project operators identify and resolve the cause for each complaint about emissions from their project.

FACT: It is beyond the scope of Ontario Environmental Officers to be telling people what surgical procedures to have.

FACT: It is the job of the Environmental Officers to receive and record complaints received from Ontario citizens about wind turbines.

Wind turbine noise reports missing

The family has since told Wind Concerns Ontario that in 2018, they filed a total of 26 reports of excessive noise/vibration/pressure; in answer to our Freedom of Information request, we received NINE.

This system is beyond broken, it was badly set up and a sham to begin with.

Ontario is dealing with the worst of the pandemic right now to be sure, but steps must be taken to fix this, and Ontario’s environment officers must do their jobs.

contact@windconcernsontario.ca

Don’t stop calling: to report wind turbine noise, effects on water wells, harm to wildlife, adverse health effects, call

1-866-MOE-TIPS. And be sure to get an Incident Report number.

For more on the 2018 complaint record documents, read our report: Report on Noise Complaint Response 2018-FINAL

To email the environment ministry using their standard form, go to: Government of Ontario

Comments

Richard Mann
Reply

Infra sound, low frequency sound below the threshold of hearing, has never been addressed.

Wind turbines need to stop due to documented, ongoing, and cumulative health harm from infra sound.

Please see the following talk,
September 12, 2019. University of Waterloo.
Mariana Alves-Pereira (Lisbon, Portugal). “Infrasound and Low Frequency Noise: Physics & Cells, History & Health”.
Livestream:
https://livestream.com/itmsstudio/events/8781285

Despite repeated attempts to contact government, no one has responded to my requests.

Stan Thayer
Reply

Wow, lots to comment on there!
I do not know the persons mentioned in the article!
My perception from the article is that the officer was speaking the truth as he recognized it. The tubes in the ears must be something new. I would move first!
I personally do not agree with the statement, “The system is broken”.
The Green Energy Act was conceived by the McGinty/Wynne Liberal government to promote the multinational renewable energy contracts at all costs, no holds barred. I say this because most of the factual data provided to them at that time was blatantly ignored and many like myself have pondered why since that time. From my perspective now, it appears to have worked as intended!
The only addition to the GEA that might have averted this catastrophe would have been to set aside some region of Ontario where those affected by the renewables could move to without turbines!
Perhaps that remains an option!
Now with major investments being diverted by financiers and governments to the renewable energy sector these sorts of problems can only increase.

More solar and wind farms are planned along with the removal of the nuclear stations and hydro dams so keep a pedal bike hooked onto your electric car, just in case!

Stan Thayer
Red seal journeyman Power Worker

Wind Concerns Ontario
Reply

You may be correct in saying the system is working exactly as it should. The McGuinty government did whatever the wind power lobby told them to, probably advised by the global wind group headquartered in Brussels, and a non-functioning complaint system is what we have today. Health impacts are on the rise, people are leaving homes, this is a disaster.

Sommer
Reply

“This system is beyond broken, it was badly set up and a sham to begin with.”

“This system is beyond broken, it was badly set up and a sham to begin with.”

“This system is beyond broken, it was badly set up and a sham to begin with.”

Having seen the enormous effort put forth by residents whose homes were surrounded by arrays of the largest industrial wind turbine project in Ontario, with no protection from harm from the Ministry of the Environment, after 5 years, it would be interesting to see how reporting to the SPILL hotline and reporting harm to all who are responsible for the harm in the future would bring protection.

Wind Concerns Ontario
Reply

The short answer is, If everyone stops complaining and then environment management takes a look (finally) at the reports and there is nothing there, it looks as though there is no problem. KEEP REPORTING. Ask the District Office staff where the reports go (Answer: nowhere). Ask if these reports go to Regional Offices and the Minister’s Office. Ask ask ask.

Stan Thayer
Reply

Sheesh, only 8 of the 45 windfarms I checked at 3 pm today had production since midnight.
I am quite sure no one would notice the power loss if those were stopped too!
Great for investors, all profit, no costs!

Stan

Stan Thayer
Reply

Sheesh again!
A month later and only seven of the Ontario windfarms have output at a laughable 95 megawatts instead of the promoted and expected *9500 megawatts.
I am really quite sure no one would notice if they stopped too!
Great for investors, suck it up buttercup taxpayers!

Stan

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