Huron County health investigation: most bothered by wind turbine noise
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.