Wind power project with 100s of complaints deemed ‘compliant’ says Environment ministry

Residents near the Underwood turbines have been waiting for a long time to get help for disturbing noise … they’re not getting it.

Ontario environment ministry has more than 500 reports of excessive noise — but nothing is being done. Why?  Computers say everything is OK.

August 13, 2018

Residents forced to live inside the 110-turbine Underwood wind power project operated by Enbridge have been waiting patiently to find out what the results were of a long-awaited post-operational acoustics audit.

Their wait is now over, but they’re not happy.

Residents received telephone calls recently from the Owen Sound Office of the (now) Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks to the effect that the Underwood project audit report concludes it complies with Ontario wind turbine noise regulations.

In a letter dated July 27th, Owen Sound District Manager Rick Chappell wrote:

“The report states that based on the results of the assessment, the Underwood Wind Project is in compliance with applicable sound level limits at your location.”

Chappell then apologizes for the “stress” caused by the assessment process, but makes no mention of the many reports filed with the ministry by the family, or of the adverse health effects possibly experienced.

The acoustics audit was prepared by Aercoustics Engineering, a firm that does acoustics assessments for many wind power developers, and also helps them prepare noise assessments for their applications for approval.

The assessment was first done in 2015, under the government’s previous noise protocol, but was not accepted. Aercoustics explains how the data was prepared (recycled) for the new report.

As an alternative, Aercoustics proposed that the turbine electrical power threshold be
replaced by a threshold based on rotational speed. These findings and recommendations
were presented to the MOECC in a memo dated November 15, 2017. This memo, along
with the correspondence with the MOECC, is attached to this report in Appendix F.
With the alternative assessment methodology, based on turbine rotational speed rather
than power output, a full dataset was possible using Aercoustics’ measurement data at
R144 from July 8 to September 7, 2015. Valcoustics’ measurement data was used for
receptor R145 spanning May 1 to September 30, 2015; the added data was required due
to the wind direction during the summer months invalidating most of the measurement
data at R145. (Source: Aercoustics Assessment Report Project 15143.01, January 30, 2018, page 5)

The audit was done on two of the project’s 110 wind turbines, in response to noise complaints from the residents. The revised report was produced three years after the original.

The audit also assumed that a single turbine was worthy of assessment and shut the other turbines down, in the fallacious/convenient belief that multiple turbines do not have an accumulated effect.

Complaints lodged, no action taken

Wind Concerns Ontario has copies of Incident Reports and Master Incident files provided under a Freedom of Information request from the then Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. The collection of documents from 2006 to 2016 show that there are 515 reports of excessive noise related to the Underwood wind project.

In one report dated April 2011, ministry staff notes say that the caller was told there would be an audit by Valcoustics and a report provided, equipment was installed from November 2009 to April 2010 , but no results were ever provided to the caller. Staff note a report (number 66) was made to a Bob Simpson of Enbridge; the closing note says “noise modeling indicates no exceedances.”

In another report, also dated 2011, the caller to the ministry Spills Action Line reports “loss of sleep due to wind turbine noise” –this adverse effect is recorded again through several more calls. The ministry staff person notes “advised the caller that he should contact the Grey Bruce Health Unit… regarding health concerns.”

Aercoustics actually states in the 2018 report that because the monitoring towers were placed closer to the turbines than the residents’ homes, there was “a measure of conservatism … actual turbine-only sound at the receptors is expected to be lower than those measured at monitoring locations.”

In the case of one turbine assessed, that distance was only 38 metres.

Table 2: Receptor Measurement Locations

Receptor Location UTM Coordinates Distance to
Turbine [m]
Predicted Sound Level*
R144 Receptor 17T 458093mE
4907987mN
537 39
Monitor 17T 458092mE
4908028mN
  499
R145 Receptor 17T 459854mE
4907073mN
453 39.8
Monitor** 17T 459931mE
4907082mN
  375

Predicted level taken from Table 4 of the Revised Environmental Noise Assessment [1], sound
level at 6 m/s.
Predicted level taken from Table 3 of the Revised Environmental Noise Assessment [1], sound
level after
wind direction adjustment. * UTM coordinates for R145 monitor taken from Aercousticsmonitoring equipment, which was
erected less than 10 meters from Valcoustics monitoring equipment

 

“This determination of compliance in the face of hundreds of complaints about this project, which has been operating since 2008, is nothing short of outrageous,” says Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson.

“It is a violation of the government’s own Environmental Protection Act to have allowed this many noise complaints to go on for so long, especially with the staff notations of adverse health effects. All the ministry does is talk about testing and compliance—they are not responding to the real problems that people are reporting to them. Acceptance of this whitewash report is a complete failure of their mandate to protect.”

To read the Aercoustics report, click here: http://www.enbridge.com/~/media/EF4720063692403B82FD1AA859689E0F.ashx

If the link does not work for you, follow these directions from Enbridge:  www.enbridge.com, and then go to ‘An interactive experience:  Our North American assets map’ on the home page.  Click on see the map, and zoom in to find the Underwood Wind Farm (aka Ontario Wind Power Project).  Click on the wind symbol and you will see a link that says ‘Click here to read Aercoustics Engineering’s acoustic immission audit on the Underwood wind farm’. 

contact@windconcernsontario.ca

 

 

Nation Rise project will create noise, health problems: WCO president to Tribunal

(C) ONTARIO FARMER

July 31, 2018

Report by Tom van Dusen

Finch, Ontario — Sitting demurely and speaking quietly, on July 24 the volunteer president of Wind Concerns Ontario blasted the provincial government approach to monitoring industrial wind turbines, accusing it of ignoring complaints about noise, health and other issues, or deferring them with no subsequent action.

Jane Wilson made  her comments while presenting as a witness during an Environmental Review Tribunal hearing into the Nation Rise wind power project planned for Stormont County. The hearing is scheduled to continue through August 2.

Currently engaged in the approval process, the project is sponsored by EDP Renewables Canada and calls for installation of some 33 turbines in North Stormont farm country delivering a total of 100 megawatts of power that, opponents observe, the province doesn’t need.

Headed by local resident Margaret Benke, opponents were hopeful the new Doug Ford government would cancel Nation Rise just as it did the White Pines wind project in Prince Edward County. But that didn’t happen and opponents’ legal fees and other expenses are up to $20,000. Benke noted that, with Ford in place, Nation Rise isn’t likely to proceed and yet opposing residents are still on the hook for costs.

Government not enforcing the law

A registered nurse, Wilson said Wind Concerns represents a coalition of more than 30 community groups across Ontario.

She emphasized that the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change–renamed Environment, Conservation and Parks — has pledged to protect the environment and human health from any turbine side effects.

She cited former Environment Minister Glen Murray congratulating his officials for responding quickly to complaints and enforcing the law. However, Wilson’s review of incident reports obtained through Access to Information indicated the ministry doesn’t respond to all complaints and “does not, therefore, enforce the law.”

No answer to that

Total number of incident reports filed with the ministry between 2006 and 2016 was 4,574, Wilson told Maureen Cartier-Whitney, chair of the one-person panel. Records showed that in more than 50 per cent of formal complaints, there was no ministry response. Another 30 per cent were deferred. “In fact, only one percent received priority response.”

While he asked for some clarification, Paul McCulloch of the ministry’s Legal Services Branch, didn’t dispute Wilson’s basic facts. Representing EDP, lawyer . Grant Worden also offered no challenges to Wilson.

The repetitive nature of various complaints suggests, Wilson continue, that wind power developers are failing to live up to the terms of their approvals by allowing conditions triggering adverse effects including on health, to continue.

“Documented health effects include headache, sleep deprivation, annoyance, and ringing or pressure sensation in the head and ears. Most disturbing was the fact that these health effects were reported many times, and also among children.”

Wilson indicated that 39 per cent of 2006-2016 incident reports referred explicitly to sleep disturbance which is generally blamed for a myriad of diseases and disorders.

“Given the thousands of unresolved noise complaints in Ontario, and given Health Canada results of adverse health effects at distances of 550 metres to 1 km, it is reasonable to question whether the Nation Rise power project will not also engender community reports of excessive noise and adverse effects.”

contact@windconcernsontario.ca

To help support the appeal, which is bringing forward issues never presented to the ERT before, please send a cheque to Concerned Citizens of North Stormont, c/o Wind Concerns Ontario, PO Box 509, 250 Wellington main Street, Wellington ON  K0K 3L0

 

Nation Rise project: significant concerns over health, environmental damage

 

Huron County health investigation: most bothered by wind turbine noise

Home in Huron County: Finally, tracking wind turbine noise complaints — the government isn’t doing it [Photo Gary Moon]
July 31, 2018

The Huron County Health Unit has released an interim report on its public health investigation into wind turbine effects, which was launched earlier this year.

The investigation, approved by the Huron County Board of Health, was in response to the hundreds of complaints filed by residents over excessive wind turbine noise and vibration or sensation. Huron County has some of the largest wind power projects in Ontario.

The public health investigation is being carried out under the authority of the Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act.

In the interim report (the study is ongoing until the end of the year), the preliminary results are described:

“Of the 40 people who have completed a Registration Survey so far, half are male and most are not leaseholders for a wind turbine company. Approximately 60% of respondents reported they have been bothered, disturbed or annoyed by noise, vibration, light and/or sensations from the wind turbines. Noise was most commonly reported.”

Although the epidemiologist supervising the investigation says the research team has enough participants, they would like more, Dr. Erica Clark told Ontario Farmer last week. Residents can sign up to participate until October 31.

Wind Concerns Ontario has documents from the former Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, received via a request under the Freedom of Information Act, which shows that the Ontario government received more than 4,500 official reports of excessive wind turbine noise and vibration from 2006-2016. The government responded to few of those reports, and in 2015-2016, responded to only about 6.9%.

Meanwhile, Provincial Officers in the Master Incident Reports, which include excerpts from calls made to the government hotline, noted adverse health effects in 35% of those reports.

“That violates both the Renewable Energy Approvals and the Environmental Protection Act,” says Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson, who is a Registered Nurse. “The approvals state that the wind power operators are supposed to investigate every complaint of noise and make sure there is not a repeat —clearly, with some of these Master Reports containing hundreds of calls, that isn’t happening.

“It is a violation of the EPA, section 1 (1) to allow anything, in this case noise, to enter the environment and cause adverse effect,” Wilson says.

“The government has a clear case for enforcing the rules.”

While the Health Unit can carry out the investigation into wind turbine noise and any adverse effect, it will not be able to issue an order to shut down turbine operations, Dr. Erica Clark says.

Under the Green Energy Act, sole responsibility for the wind turbines was given to the Ministry of the Environment, even in matters of human health.

To sign up for the study please go to the Huron County health Unit website here: https://www.huronhealthunit.ca/reports-and-statistics/investigations/wind-turbine-study/

or for more information about the study, please contact Dr. Erica Clark at 519.482.3416 or 1.877.837.6143 extension 2022 or eclark@huroncounty.ca.  You can also contact her by mail at:

Dr. Erica Clark
Huron County Health Unit
77722B London Road RR5
Clinton, ON N0M 1L0

In the meantime, residents experiencing noise, vibration, sensation, or flashing lights/strobe effect/shadow flicker should report these incidents. Please call the Spills Action Centre at 1-866-MOETIPS. Be sure to get an Incident Report number at then time of your call, and keep a record yourself of the time of your call, and what you reported.

Rural hopes for a new Ontario government: peace, justice

Sunrise at Belle River power project: new hope for justice and resolution

June 8, 2018

Yesterday saw a dramatic change in governance in Ontario. Fifteen years of Liberal rule were over, and the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario — which has its base in rural Ontario — will form the new government.

For Ontario citizens who have been forced, through the previous government’s Draconian Green Energy Act, to live inside noisy, disruptive wind power projects, there is new hope for justice.

The Green Energy Act superseded 21 pieces of legislation in Ontario, and removed local land-use planning for “renewable” power projects. That meant that people living in small communities could see their municipal government seek consultation on other forms of development, but be without influence when multi-million-dollar industrial-scale wind turbines were put forward by the government and (mostly foreign-owned) wind power developers.

The government promised that if there were problems, they would pay attention to them: they didn’t. They promised they wouldn’t force the highly invasive, high-impact power projects on communities that didn’t want them: they did. And to this very day, to this minute, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change is ignoring the thousands upon thousands of reports of excessive noise and other impacts of the wind turbines. The government went so far as to instruct employees not to respond, event o close files without resolution, and to appoint certain employees to preach the gospel of non-harmful wind power while ignoring current research and even denigrating resident reports of health effects and harm (Rick Chappell in Owen Sound, we mean you).

The PC Party was the only one that actually developed a plan to do something about the misguided wind power plan in Ontario. They promised, months ago, to:

  • cancel the newest wind power projects
  • examine possibilities for renegotiating other contracts
  • enforce the noise regulations for wind turbines
  • revise the Green Energy Act

The new Premier, Doug Ford, also promised a public health investigation into the well water problems in Chatham-Kent, a situation for which the previous government dodged responsibility.

This new government will be facing a great deal of work now, with so many things mishandled in Ontario, but it is our hope that they soon fulfill these promises, which will benefit all people of Ontario by reducing electricity costs, and reducing harm to our fellow citizens.

Wind Concerns Ontario

Ontario Environment ministry under fire over Chatham-Kent water wells

Ontario Groundwater Association warned about the effects of wind farm development over sensitive hydrogeology — but was ignored

 

Experts are lined up against the MOECC in their views on what’s happening in Chatham-Kent [Photo: Council of Canadians]

In the current edition of Ontario Farmer is a report on the status of Chatham-Kent wells which residents say have been contaminated by sediment; they link the failure of the wells to wind turbine construction.

Here are excerpts from the article in Farmers Forum  by Jeffrey Carter.

With opposition parties and others calling for an official health hazard investigation, the Ontario government finds itself under increasing scrutiny over groundwater complaints in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent.

According to [community group] Water Wells First, upwards of 20 wells in the former townships of Dover and Camden have been impacted. The group blames wind farm development in the area for the problem and feel they have the evidence to prove it — before and after measurements of turbidity specific to the North Kent Wind project led by Samsung Renewable Energy and Pattern Development.

It’s the type of approach supported by University of Waterloo geological engineer Maurice Dusseault who questions the parameters used by Golder and Associates, a consulting firm hired by Samsung and Pattern, to conclude turbine construction an operation could not possibly have impacted groundwater in the area.

Low-frequency vibration created by piledriving during wind turbine construction and operation may have led to turbidity issues, Dusseault said, something it appears Golder and Associates did not measure.

Under scrutiny as well is the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC), which approved the wind farm developments. The MOECC has repeatedly cited the opinion of Dr. David Colby*, the Chatham-Kent Medical Officer of Health over concerns wells may have been compromised.

{Colby] has not seen any of the results from water tests conducted by Water Wells First that show exponentially higher levels of turbidity following the construction and operation of North Kent Wind turbines.

“I don’t want to come across as unsympathetic but really there’s no connection to wind turbines,” Colby said.

The executive director of the Ontario Groundwater Association Craig Stainton gives little weight to Dr. Colby’s opinions on the matter and said the MOECC response to the well water complaints has been sorely lacking. Had the MOECC heeded warnings that wind farm development posed a threat to the groundwater of the area, the current controversy would likely have been avoided, he said.

Third-world conditions

“If the MOECC were doing what they should be doing, what they’re supposed to be doing, they would have known what these developments would do. When you get into the science, and there’s reams of it, this has been going on in Europe for years and they are years ahead of us.”

“It’s despicable. They have created third-world conditions for those homeowners.”

The aquifer in the north part of Chatham-Kent is well known to well drillers operating in the area. It is both shallow, roughly 50 to 70 feet below the soil surface, and fragile, and is located just about the Kettle Point Black Shale formation common to the area.

Stainton is concerned that even if the operation of the turbines is ended, the aquifer may have been permanently damaged.

 

TEST RESULTS

Tests paid for by Water Wells First and conducted by an independent lab showed elevated levels of particulates and heavy metals including:

  • lead
  • arsenic
  • mercury
  • uranium

 

*WCO note: Dr Colby has acted as a paid advocate for the wind power industry, and has published a paper for both the Canadian and US wind power lobby groups

 

Environment Commissioner dead wrong on wind turbine health impacts

A pro-wind lawyer, now Ontario’s Eco Commissioner, makes unsupported statements on the health impacts of wind power generation facilities

The ECO ignored international evidence on wind turbine noise and health, and has failed the people of Ontario

April 10, 2018

Ontario’s Eco Commissioner or ECO, environmental lawyer Dianne Saxe, long known for her support of wind power development, has issued a very unusual and interestingly timed report.

Making Connections: straight talk about electricity in Ontario is an unabashed defence of the Ontario government’s energy policy, even with its criticism that government has not done enough.

We will leave it to others to comment on the statements about electricity demand, the supply mix, and whether selling off surplus power actually costs Ontario taxpayers and electricity ratepayers, but when it comes to the issue of the health impacts of wind turbines, we have no choice but to call out the Commissioner’s (deliberate) exclusion of the facts.

While acknowledging that there are some negative impacts from wind turbine construction and operation, such as the building of access roads, and the effect of turbines on bird and bat populations, when it comes to effects on humans, the ECO relies on a lawyer’s view of the evidence, which to her, is strictly the results of appeals before the quasi-judicial Environmental Review Tribunal or ERT.

“After extensive expert evidence, and having considered numerous studies from around the globe, the ERT has consistently dismissed appeals based on alleged harm to human health,” says the ECO. “The noise impacts of wind on people are controlled through noise limits in the REAs, and through mandatory setbacks established by the Environmental Protection Act.” (page 153)

What ECO Saxe neglects to say is that the basis on which to win an appeal on health before the ERT is virtually impossible.

One of the prime effects of exposure to the range of wind turbine noise emissions is sleep disturbance or sleep deprivation, which is widely acknowledged as a source of health problems such as high blood pressure, altered blood sugar levels, and annoyance or distress, which is in itself an adverse health impact. The situation in Ontario is that the moneyed wind power interests could afford to hire expert witnesses to support their side, while the appellants in these cases could usually only manage to have beleaguered citizens with their anecdotal reports of health effects. Any health care professionals who did venture forth to support these claims were badgered and had their professional qualifications questioned, sometimes merely on the basis of where they lived.

ECO Saxe asserts that there is extensive evidence and that there are numerous studies from around the world supporting the claim that there is no link between wind turbine noise and health effects.

This is false.

One expert witness, Dr Alun Evans, a professor emeritus, testified before the Senate Select Committee on Wind Turbines in Australia, and noted “A recent systematic review considered 154 published studies, eventually including 18 on the basis that they examined the association of wind turbines and human distress and were published in peer-review journals in English from 2003-2013. All found between wind turbines and human distress with levels of evidence of four and five (Bradford Hill Criteria). In addition, two of these studies showed a dose response relationship between distance from wind turbines and distress. Thus there is a consistent relationship between the proximity of turbines and human distress.”

In Ontario, Wind Concerns Ontario obtained thousands of reports from people living near wind turbines (in some cases, among them) via a request under the Freedom of Information Act process. WCO received over 4,500 records (though this number is almost certainly not complete) of complaints filed with the government since 2006.

The number of complaints is significant, but so too are staff notes in these documents. In total, explicit reference to the presence of health impacts from wind turbine noise emissions or environmental noise from the turbines was present in 35 percent of the reports we received.

We cannot help but question the political nature of this document. The ECO actually says, “the ECO strongly believes that fossil-fuelled generation, including the gas-fired generation that operates in Ontario, is more harmful to the environment than other electricity sources.” (page 150) In other words, there might be some problems but we have to accept them because the alternative is worse.

This is preposterous and flies in the face of the government’s mandate to protect both health and the environment.

Indeed, as a team of academics noted in their 2016 paper published in Nature Energy on how wind power problems were handled in Ontario, Ontario “public policy takes an ‘innocent until proven guilty’ view of [wind turbine noise and health] evidence rather than a more precautionary approach. … there is epidemiologic evidence t sustain various interpretations of wind turbine impacts on well-being.) Fast et al, Lessons learned from Ontario wind energy disputes, page 2).

One of the ECO’s goals is to ensure that the government of Ontario receives “fair, balanced and accurate information”.

The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario has failed in that goal, and failed the people of rural Ontario who have been forced through political ideology to live in the midst of huge power plants that do produce environmental noise, and are linked to serious health impacts.

 

To contact the ECO: commissioner@eco.on.ca  or 1075 Bay Street, Suite 605, Toronto, ON M5S 2B1

To contact us: Wind Concerns Ontario contact@windconcernsontario.ca

Port Elgin residents still in a wind turbine noise experiment

Port Elgin residents continue to be lab animals as the MOECC now waits to see if an abatement plan for a wind turbine with 5 years of problems actually works [Photo: Shutterstock]

Noise abatement plan accepted, but what does it really mean?

March 19, 2018

Port Elgin residents forced to live near the single wind turbine operated by the union Unifor, which has resulted in hundreds of noise complaints since the moment it began operating, were “vindicated” recently when the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) announced that noise testing revealed the turbine was not in compliance with regulations.

See a report from CTV London reporter Scott Miller, here.

The MOECC told Unifor that as the turbine operator, they would have to put a noise abatement plan in place by today.

Wind Concerns Ontario has learned that the plan was submitted and has been approved by the Ministry. Noise testing will now continue, said MOECC District Manager Rick Chappell, to confirm compliance with regulations. The Ministry expects the new Imissions Audit or I-audit by the end of June.

Port Elgin resident Greg Schmalz says the admission of non-compliance is vindication for residents who have been complaining for years, but the fight is not over. And many serious questions remain.

“If ongoing tests show non-compliance for a second time, does that result in the MOECC permanently revoking the operating certificate?” he asks. “Will resident complaints filed during the abatement period and ongoing testing be confirmed, or do they not count? And why did it take so long from report dates to release [of the information]?”

The engineering report was filed with the MOECC in January, and the MOECC did not announce the status of non-compliance until March … and then to the wrong municipality.

Documents received by Wind Concerns Ontario via Freedom of Information requests show that the MOECC received 236 reports of excessive noise up to the end of 2014, and more during the 2015-2016 time period. People complained of noise “like a helicopter” overhead, and of sleep disturbance at night, which in turn produced other health effects.

Read the report by engineering consultant firm HGC here.

#MOECC

 

 

 

 

Infrasound chamber developed at U Waterloo

A team has created a special chamber in which infrasound can be produced, in the hopes of aiding accredited health researchers.

March 12, 2018

Richard Mann, assistant professor on Computer Science at the University of Waterloo, has informed Wind Concerns Ontario of a new development:

“We have successfully produced infrasound, as a mirror of that produced by Industrial Wind Turbines, in a chamber capable of accommodating a human test subject. This will permit others, with appropriate medical training and ethical oversight, to research the effects of infrasound on humans.”

In a PDF document with details on the project, he provides the rationale.

A significant number of people, who live in proximity to Industrial Wind Turbines, complain about a variety of physical and emotional symptoms. They believe these symptoms are caused by Infrasound produced by these Turbines. Some of these symptoms include, but are not limited to, nausea, tinnitus, sleep deprivation,

vertigo, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and other ailments, which to them, have a profound impact on quality of life.

Sadly, both the wind industry, and governments, have not responded to these concerns in any meaningful way, and those affected are given little if any support.

Some have actually had to leave their homes and have endured financial distress as a result.

Countless others continue to suffer with little hope for relief. To profoundly add to their distress, many are met with the inference that these problems are “all

in their head (Crichton et al, 2014; Chapman 2015).

“There is a genuine need to study human thresholds and/or response to infrasound exposure systematically and reliably in a lab setting,” Mann says.

“Our motivation for this project was based on the need for tools, to allow others with appropriate medical training and ethics approval, to move forward with this research.”

 

Read the document here: https://cs.uwaterloo.ca/sites/ca.computer-science/files/uploads/files/cs-2018-01.pdf

Unifor turbine not compliant: MOECC

Noise abatement plan to be in place by March 18

Unifor turbine: Years of procrastination and failure of the regulator to regulate

March 5, 2018

Owen Sound District Manager for the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Rick Chappell told West Grey Council and a packed room of citizens today that the controversial single wind turbine in Port Elgin owned and operated by Unifor, is not compliant with provincial noise regulations.

A noise abatement plan has been ordered by the Ministry and must be in place by March 18.

The Unifor turbine has resulted in hundreds of complaints of excessive noise over the years, several TV news stories, and statements from the local municipality to the effect that the MOECC is failing in its role as a regulator.

West Grey Council, which had asked Chappell to appear to answer questions about why wind turbine noise complaints were not being resolved, accepted the news, and one councilor demanded that the MOECC now personally call everyone who had filed a report, and give them the news.

Councillors remarked that the decision to test the Unifor wind turbine noise output was the result of citizen complaints; a councilor advised residents to “keep complaining.”

Wind Concerns Ontario has reports provided by the MOECC that show 236 reports were filed up to the end of 2014. In the years 2009-2014, over half of the noise reports received by the MOECC got no response.

 

Australian court: wind turbine noise a “plausible pathway” to disease

Court finds an established association between annoyance (used as a medical term) and some diseases that result from prolonged stress

Pathway to Disease: Australian court links wind turbine noise with possible diseases
Hamilton Spectator
Natalie McGregor
15 February 2018

In a World first, Australia’s Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) has declared that the “noise annoyance” caused by wind turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound “is a plausible pathway to disease”.

At the AAT hearing in Adelaide, the impacts of wind farm noise were considered by a senior Federal Court judge; the most thorough medial and scientific inquiry on the subject matter conducted in Australia to date.

The Tribunal’s findings were based on the “established association between noise annoyance and some diseases, including hypertension and cardiovascular disease, possibly mediated in part by disturbed sleep and/or psychological stress/distress”.

In its summary, and with unanimous support from relevant experts, AAT found that there were numerous recorded instances of wind turbine noise exceeding 40 dB(A) — a recognised threshold for annoyance/sleep disturbance.

“Even if it is not audible, low-frequency noise and infrasound may have other effects on the human body, which are not mediated by hearing but also not fully understood,” the summary reads.

“Those effects may include motion-sickness-like symptoms, vertigo, and tinnitus -like symptoms.”

It was also established that the current method adopted by windfarms to measure noise — the dB(A) scale was not suitable for the task, because a significant proportion of sound emitted by wind turbines is in the lower frequency range, where the scale cannot accurately identify the presence of frequencies or the peaks and troughs of their occurrence.

Instead, the dB(A) scale averages out the sound levels, masking the occurrence that could be causing harmful health side-effects.

The dB(A) weighting system is the basis of every wind turbine noise guideline in operation throughout the world.

With majority support from relevant experts, the Tribunal found that the most accurate way of determining the level and type of sound present at a particular location is to measure the sound at that location.

In conclusion, AAT noted the World Health Organisation stance that there is “sufficient evidence from large-scale epidemiological studies linking the populations exposure to environmental noise with adverse health effects”.

A Moyne shire resident living next to the MacArthur windfarm outlined the health impacts she has experienced since the wind farms were established.

“Severe ear pressure and pain, it’s actually in the inner ear; head pressure and headaches; my heart goes bananas, my whole body burns, and I feel sick,” she said.

“And (the symptoms) just come back immediately when in direct proximity to low-frequency emissions, it can happen anywhere, and it’s not just mild, it’s really debilitating.”

AGL started the consultation process with the community surrounding the proposed Willatook windfarm, raising concerns from residents about the proliferation of turbines in the area.

Community members met with South West Coast MP Roma Britnell over the weekend to voice concerns.

“Really (the meeting) centred around the fact that they will be surrounded, some of them, by the wind farms,” Ms Britnell said.

“They felt that it was a cluster effect and that it was unfair, that just because the power line goes through one area, they shouldn’t have to be the ones to had to take all the load of the 220-metre from tip- two-base structures in their backyard.”

Ms Britnell expressed no strong opinion in favour or against wind energy, simply saying we need to “get it right”.

“I am all for getting the renewable energy balance right, and wind is part of the solution, but wind is not the answer where there is no ability to store it,” Ms Britnell said.

“I’m afraid I still can’t meet the demand for supply when I want to milk my cows or have my shower when the wind isn’t blowing.

“Wind is not meeting the baseload and the biggest restriction I hear from community members is the supply issue, and that’s what the government is really not addressing.”

Tony Edney, director of the water foundation — an advocacy group for properly conducted, multidisciplinary research into health problems reported by people living in the vicinity of wind turbines and other industrial uses — told the Spectator that not every windfarm would necessarily generate problems.

“The location, topography, layout and design of the installation of factors that combine with climactic conditions to produce sound generating profiles of potential harm for some receiver sites,” Mr Edney said.

“And not everyone is adversely affected by wind farm noise. It is in part a matter of individual sensitivity or propensity, think of seasickness, and how we are not impacted equally by that malaise.”

Mr Edney said it was “simply no longer possible” for the industry to say that its technology was “clean, green and completely harmless”.

“Country people deserve to know what exactly they are dealing with when talk starts up about our windfarm proposed for their district,” Mr Edney said.
Hamilton Spectator