Wind farm noise complaints trigger MoE investigation

The wind “farm” or, as we prefer it, wind power generation project, in Brinston Ontario, is the first wind power plant to have 3-megawatt turbines operating … but not for long. Many of the other power projects such as those at Bluewater and in the Niagara Region are specified to have 3-megawatt turbines. Ontario still does not have any protocol for measuring infrasound or low-frequency noise (LFN) which these machines produce.
It is worth noting that Brinston has about 400 homes within 2 km of the wind power project and its 3-MW turbines; in the Niagara Region there will be 4,500 homes, and in Bluewater, more than 2,000.
Here is a report from Brinston where the turbines have been operating for only four months.

Noise complaints lead to monitoring

by Sandy Casselman, Winchester Press
BRINSTON – It has been more than six months since the blades of the South Branch Wind Farm turbines began to spin, leaving more than one nearby resident with some sleepless nights.
“I call when it gets to the point I can’t tolerate it anymore and I go to the basement [to sleep],” Brinston resident Leslie Disheau, former president of the South Branch Wind Opposition Group, said. “It is an issue and
I’m not the only person in town with the issue.”
Disheau, who is running for the Municipality of South Dundas’ deputy-mayor seat in this fall’s municipal election, has been staying close to home since the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) installed noise-monitoring equipment at her Brinston Road property last week.
“MOE contacted me and asked if they could put this noise monitoring equipment up,” Disheau said.
The two pieces of equipment measure wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, rainfall, and more, she said.
She has submitted three separate noise complaints so far. Every complaint must be filed with EDP Renewables’ project leader Ken Little and local MOE representative Terry Forrester to be officially registered.
During EDP’s first open community liaison meeting in March, a Brinston man spoke out about his own sleep disturbances, suggesting the turbines be shut off for a period during the early hours of the morning, beginning around midnight. At that time, Little confirmed that there had been one official complaint already registered. He also said an acoustic audit had been ordered, which he expected to get underway within two months of the meeting.
“EDP has not released their post-construction noise audit report,” Disheau said during an interview with the Winchester Press Fri., July 18.
In conversation with one of the MOE officials who installed the equipment, Disheau said she learned that the provincial authority also had not seen a report from EDP.
“They can take a long as they want,” she said, crediting the Green Energy Act with the responsibility for not specifying a deadline. “There is a 40-decibel limit [on the noise the turbines can make], and we have no idea if they’re in the threshold or not.”
To describe what the sound is like, she used Highway 401 versus airplane noise as an example, pointing out that the highway noise is more of a hum, and when she lived near it, the sounds did not bother her at all.
However, the turbines produce something more in line with the “drone of an airplane that goes into your head,” she said. “It’s a deeper tone, and that’s where you get the disturbance of sleep.”
Explaining the noise and its effects on her is not easy, she said, but it is similar to the sensation people get in their chest when listening to bass guitar.
Disheau said she explained her experiences to MOE’s acoustical engineer, adding that the sensations are at their worst when the blade tips of the turbine across the road (south of Brinston) and the one to the north behind her home (west of Brinston) are facing one another.
“The acoustical engineer said ‘yes, that it all makes sense,’ ” Disheau added. “This is not normal. You should not be in sleep disturbance in your own house.”
Meanwhile, Disheau is the only one in her home experiencing the effects of the rotating blades, as her husband, who shares the second-storey bedroom on the home’s vinyl-sided addition, is tone deaf, and her children sleep on the first floor of the brick-sided main house.
The noise-monitoring equipment is controlled by a switch, which has been placed inside Disheau’s home. When she notices the noise, she flips the switch and the machinery calculates and documents the findings.
“Once everything is taken down, the ministry guy goes through [the recordings] and writes his report,” she said, which will list the decibel readings for various weather conditions (wind speed and direction).
When asked what she hopes to accomplish through this procedure, Disheau said the findings could require that EDP shut down operations during specific times of the day or during specific wind conditions should they prove the decibel levels exceed the regulated amount.


What's your reaction?


  • John B
    Posted July 27, 2014 3:03 pm 0Likes

    It appears that only audible noise is to be measured, not infrasound. From all reports I’ve read over the past several years, it’s infrasound that has the most serious health effects on some people living near wind turbines. Is the MOE even aware of infrasound? And what’s happening with the results of the government study of wind turbine health effects that are supposed to be published this year?

    • Leslie Disheau
      Posted July 27, 2014 4:54 pm 0Likes

      Hi John B, I was asked by the MOE instrument fellow if I knew what EMF’s were and I responded back yes, Electro-magnetic frequency and I proceeded to inform him that I have also educated myself about infra-sound and low frequency noise for the past 4years, before these turbines in Brinston where built. That was the end of the conversation as they are aware there is nothing the MOE can or will be able to do on this matter.

    • Wind Concerns Ontario
      Posted July 28, 2014 8:26 am 0Likes

      The Ontario government has no protocol for measuring infrasound, and doesn’t plan to until 2015; this is completely unacceptable. The government’s position exactly echoes that of the wind power development lobby in that first, there was “no such thing” as infrasound (“It’s nothing,” Ministry of the Environment lawyer Sylvia Davis said at the Ostrander Point ERT) to now being inconsequential and not worse than road traffic noise.
      You are correct in saying that infrasound is the source of the problem for many people, and yet our government is dragging its feet on doing anything about this.
      As for the Health Canada study, the results will be published this year, perhaps as early as October, or not until December. We will keep watchers of this website informed.

  • David Libby
    Posted July 28, 2014 9:11 am 0Likes

    For a sample of MOE noise testing use this link, 2nd item on the page:
    Yes that is my former home. Even though the MOE testing is corrupt crap just like everything else with wind turbines. Get the testing done and get the evidence.
    Contact Nicholas Kouwen in the above link to make sure the testing is arranged properly.

  • David Libby
    Posted July 28, 2014 9:25 am 0Likes

    If you have noise testing results at your home send them to me and I will post them on the Wind Victims Ontario website.
    Use this contact:
    If you have questions or need help contact us as well.

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