K2 Wind claims it’s compliant with Ontario noise regulations

Meanwhile, complaints from residents mount

The only measure of success in resolving Ontario’s wind turbine noise problem is the complete cessation of resident complaints — that’s not happening. Yet.  [Shutterstock photo]
October 9, 2019

In a letter from Senior Environmental Officer Scott Gass in the Owen Sound District Office of the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP), Ministry staff report that the operator of the massive K2 Wind power project claims the project is now in compliance with Ontario noise regulations for industrial-scale wind turbines.

K2 Wind was found out of compliance earlier this year and was the subject of a Director’s Order to implement a Noise Abatement Plan for 90 of the 140 turbines in the power project.

Now, says Mr. Gass in his letter to a resident with longstanding problems (who wishes to be anonymous), the noise issue appears to be resolved. Mr. Gass’ email, it should be noted, was to furnish the residents with official Incident Report numbers for ongoing reports of excessive noise and vibration.

His email stated:

“At this time, in response to the additional Part D noise analysis completed in the spring, K2 has taken steps to de-rate approximately 90 turbines to reduce noise emissions. The information supplied by the company indicates that the wind turbines, with the interim curtailment in place, meet the ministry’s sound level limits. This is an interim measure put in place while K2 develops a long-term noise abatement action plan for ministry review. Once a long-term plan has been implemented, additional monitoring will be required to assess the noise emissions.” [Scott Gass, email October 4, 2019]

The ministry continues to rely on outdated regulations in its Compliance Protocol, which assess audible noise emissions only. Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Act clearly states that the operator of a wind power project must address all conditions causing “adverse effect” and take steps to address the complaints from nearby residents.

So, in short, the only sign of success in noise abatement would be a complete halt in complaints about noise and adverse effects — that’s not what is happening. Resident complaints do not appear to be a factor in assessment of compliance.

The family emailed by Mr. Gass lives on a farm surrounded by turbines in all directions, and has been reporting excessive noise from multiple K2 Wind turbines for four years — since the project began operation.

Problems with wind turbine noise are prevalent all over Ontario, with more than 4,500 formal reports filed  up to 2016. (Wind Concerns Ontario has requested  data for 2017 and 2018 but so far, has not received any information, and has in fact filed for a second appeal to obtain the 2017 records.)

Environment minister Jeff Yurek recently visited residents in Port Elgin who have filed hundreds of complaints about the Unifor wind turbine in that community.

While a pledge to enforce regulations is a step forward from the previous government, which had a very close relationship with the wind power industry, there can be no “success” on this front until all noise complaints and reports of adverse health effects have stopped.

That will require political courage and decisive action, including the shutdown of wind turbines.

 

Note: if you are experiencing noise/vibration/sensation of pressure from wind turbines, please report it to the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks by calling the Spills Action Centre at 1-866-MOE-TIPS. Be sure to get an Incident Report number and keep a record of your call. You may wish to copy your MPP.

Comments

Sommer
Reply

And what about LFN and infrasound?
To whom should residents report the harm?

Wind Concerns Ontario
Reply

“Noise emissions” covers everything including audible noise, the feeling or sensation of pressure, hearing/feeling the characteristic “whomp-whomp-whomp” and if you are experiencing any “adverse effect” such as a health issue (dizziness, headache, feeling of pressure in the ears or head) or simply not being able to be out on your property—these are all a reason to report to the Ministry of the Environment (MECP).
Call the Spills Action Centre at 1-866-MOE-TIPS.
If they ask “which turbine” is closest or you think is the source of the complaint, don’t answer that—you don’t know which turbine it is and it could be some or all of them.

Sommer
Reply

Your response does not address the issue of harm from LFN and infrasound and the serious disconnect between reporting this harm and the MoECC/MoE responses that residents have consistently received from them.
The MoECC/MoE measures audible sound only.
Who regulates acoustic radiation in Ontario?
Residents were directed to the federal government by our MP and told to ask for the enforcement of the Radiation Emitting Devices Act. Jane Philpott was the Minister of Health and never responded. To my knowledge, no one ever received a response to their pleas for protection from LFN and infrasound from anyone.

Wind Concerns Ontario
Reply

Whose “response”? WCO is clearly asking for the full range of noise emissions to be monitored, and citizen complaints both considered and resolved. Any and all courses of action must be enacted, including shutdown.

Richard Mann
Reply

WCO Writes:
“… there can be no “success” on this front until all noise complaints and reports of adverse health effects have stopped ,,,
That will require political courage and decisive action, including the shutdown of wind turbines.”

That is correct. Unfortunately our government contacts have all gone dead. I have attempted to contact Ministers Yurek, Rickford, Elliot and our Premier. I have also mailed Dr Bokhout, Medical Officer of Health for Huron County and Erica Clark, Epidemiologist, Huron County.
None have responded to my letters.

Recently I have been informed in private Email from WCO that Minister Yurek is no longer responding to communication. Supposedly Minister Yurek is unable to respond until after Oct 30, 2019. That is when the case brought by Water Wells First is heard in court.

Meanwhile health harm continues all over Ontario.

Richard Mann
University of Waterloo

Richard Mann
Reply

FYI I am attaching a letter from Dr Bokhout, acting medical officer of health, Huron County Health Unit on Sept 16, 2019.

The letter is to a citizen in Huron County.
I am publishing with the permission of the recipient.

Does this letter withstand scrutiny? Is this acceptable, given that ongoing lawsuits have all failed?

Sincerely,
Richard Mann

Encl: Dr Bokhout letter.
From: Maarten Bokhout
To: Carla Stachura ; Erica Clark
Sent: Monday, September 16, 2019, 11:14:02 PM EDT
Subject: possible adverse health effects from wind turbines

Dear Ms. Stachura,
I am responding to your email addressed to Dr. Erica Clark, dated August 29, 2019. I have reviewed your correspondence of August 14 and Rick Chappell’s May 15, 2018 response to the article “Altered Cortical and Subcortical…(etc)”.
I offer the following:
Your concern is that the wind turbines in your vicinity are noncompliant with MOE noise regulations. The noise is tonal. This is significant, as the foregoing article suggests that “infrasound near the hearing threshold may induce changes of neural activity across several brain regions,some of which…are regarded as key players in emotional and autonomic control “.
I am sympathetic to your ongoing concerns suggesting that there is a link between wind turbine noise and your (and your partner’s) health and wellbeing. In part, it was your persistence in notifying us at the health unit of your concerns that led me to seek approval for a study to try to determine whether or not there were particular health issues which could be linked to wind turbine activity. The study was approved but we were unable to attract enough participants to do a quantitative analysis of the data gathered. We will complete a descriptive analysis in the next month or so, but this will, unfortunately, not give us enough information to be able to state whether or not not the presence of wind turbines have an adverse effect on the PUBLIC health.
There is enough anecdotal evidence to suggest that some INDIVIDUALS have trouble coping with the effects of active wind turbines (flicker, infrasound, possible stray electric currents). I note that the Madison county Board of Public Health recommends changes to the setbacks of FUTURE wind turbine projects.
Your best bet may be to seek redress in the courts. It is unfortunate that our study was not supported by enough residents of Huron County, some of which allegedly encouraged non participation in the study…

Maarten Bokhout, MD, etc. a/MOH

Sommer
Reply

Also, from a resident’s request for data details on derating of more than half of the turbines, the response given was that these details would be sent to that resident within two weeks. The derating began in early July, if I remember correctly. After over a month, they were still not sent. Does anyone have the details on this from the MoE yet?
The people of Ontario need to know exactly how much less effective these turbines are/will be post derating if the turbines keep running for the next 16 years.. Do the people of Ontario still think it’s worth while to subsidize a long term project where more than half of the turbines are permanently derated?

Wind Concerns Ontario
Reply

Is the resident following up, or waiting for information? Follow up. Call.

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