Report on Environmental Review Tribunal Hearing on White Pines Wind Project
November 20, 2015
Paula Peel, Alliance to Protect Prince Edward County (APPEC)
APPEC’s health appeal continued on Day 10 with expert witness Dr. Paul Schomer testifying before the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) on the White Pines wind project. The remainder of the day was spent making adjustments to the schedule following WPD’s abrupt announcement that it was dropping an appeal of the disallowance of two turbines (T7 and T11) by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC).
Dr. Schomer, a former Standards Director of the Acoustical Society of America with 48 years’ experience in noise measurement, was qualified by the ERT as an expert in acoustics. He told the Tribunal that all residents in the White Pines project area will be affected by audible and inaudible sound and a number of residents will be seriously affected. The effects reported by people living near wind projects are similar in nature to the effects experienced by participants in a 1985 University of Toronto study on infrasound. At lower levels and at higher levels of pure tone some participants experienced nausea and dizziness. However, when overtones were added at higher levels, participants experienced headaches and fatigue.
Dr. Schomer considers that internationally-accepted noise standards and protocols are being flouted in Ontario. For example, A-weighting is not supposed to be relied on when sounds have low-frequency content such as those emitted by industrial wind turbines. Canada is one of the countries that voted for this rule. He also calls for changes in current Ontario regulations to adjust up to 10 db(A) for wind turbine noise in rural areas. Other suggested adjustments include up to 3 db(A) for weather conditions and 3 to 4 db(A) for locations downwind of turbines. Dr. Schomer is highly critical of WPD’s current predicted average sound as it merely indicates that 50% of the time 50% of the residents will be exposed to sound above or below the limit. The wind industry should be held to a higher level of accountability: db(A) limits should be met 95% of the time.
Dr. Schomer pointed to a very important figure in the Health Canada Report. Only 1% of people are shown to be highly annoyed at 30 – 35 db(A) sound levels. However, at 35 – 40 db(A) the number jumps to 40%. Dr. Schomer sees this as evidence of a community response to wind turbine noise, and that what Health Canada says, what independent acoustic experts say, and what communities say should carry weight in Ontario.
Through experience Dr. Schomer has found that when community responses disagree with the physics, the physics is usually wrong. This has been confirmed by his involvement in six studies of wind farms, including the 8-turbine Shirley Wind Farm in Wisconsin where three families abandoned their homes and about 60 other people reported adverse health effects.
The ERT continues next week. Hearings on Monday and Tuesday are in Toronto. The location of the hearing on Wednesday still needs to be confirmed.
Are our governments just incredibly slow, or corrupt? I have been telling them this for a year and a half and others have for six years, yet they continue only to use words such as “continuing to monitor”. How about “continuing to fail”? “Continuing to enable detrimental health impacts”? “Continuing to fail to deliver on your core mandate”? The time to act was before and is now.
They are not slow…especially at passing wind turbine projects. This one was passed before most of the residents were even aware it was on the agenda! So, what was your other adjective??
Thanks for this, Mike.
After being hit by the tail end of hurricane Patricia, which devastated Texas, being down wind of the 70 IWTs to the west of my house, the otoliths in my ears were so scrambled that I was nauseated, brain spinning, lost balance, ears stuffed. On the way to the hospital in the ambulance, I was vomitting, but instead of discharging me the same day, or the next day, the Hospitalist had to keep me in Emerg for 5 days until he figured out how to settle down the otoliths and assure himself that I wouldn’t fall while walking with a walker.
Luckily, I was able to find a Respite Residence for 2 wks so I wouldn’t have to go back to the turbine TOXIC house. Unfortunately, I have to go back on the 27th and hopefully will find a place closer to my son for a longer stay.
Each of my 8 experiences in Emerg over the last 6 years found an increasing sensitivity to the LFN and Infrasound; I find myself quite anxious about the next attack on my inner ears and those “dancing” otoliths. I’m going to pray for low/no winds as long as I have to stay in Clear Creek.
Thank you for sharing this experience. I am sorry you are going through this. This is the kind of experience we need to hear about. I heard some people had to leave their homes, but sure as horse hockey pucks, we aren’t hearing about it in our local media outlets.
If I were to create a link where anyone could log issues, I wonder if people would use it and if having such data for more than just one person could be powerful. It seems we are well isolated and unfortunately our public health units aren’t doing anything like this.
I could easily create a form to document the experiences of many.
Thanks and take care,
Mike, your sincere concern is appreciated. The real hurdle to getting this information out is to create as many links as possible to the various sites, which have been diligently maintained for years now…full of archived information. This is just one of them. It is an excellent site and is maintained and managed by people of conscience. People who have been harmed as well as those who are just starting to be harmed as new projects are turned on, contribute their stories to this site.
Once a person finds these sites and they begin to realize the full story, including anecdotes of adverse health effects and disruption, they realize that REAL innocent people have been seriously harmed in rural Ontario. If they are capable of feeling compassion, they will not be able to look at the subject of industrial scale wind turbines anywhere, without thinking about all that has been exposed on sites like this. Hopefully, then they will pressure politicians at all levels to stop the wind companies and compensate fully all people who have been harmed.
We’re waiting for a critical mass of people, especially urban dwellers in Ontario, to get connected somehow to this whole dreadful story.
Your compassion for victims is much appreciated.
These are just my thoughts.
I wonder if we could get Dr. Paul Schomer to Huron County to take a look at the siting of K2 Wind’s turbines and make recommendations for necessary changes.
Been there, got the tshirt… Wind Concerns in the early years sent a very reputable American acoustician Rick James to my house which is across the way from Johana’s. He did extensive testing at my house. It was one of three homes tested. My home was chosen as it was less than 400 meters between the house and the closest turbine and my place as well, was surrounded by 3 pods of 6 turbines in a very close radius. I believe he has been called in the past to testify as a professional witness at ERT.
We have the data, a lot of money was paid for this testing.
Another reason my house was chosen as a test site was that I was a relatively healthy middle aged woman before the development of the turbines. My medical records have been shared internationally with Drs.
Do we continue to play the record over and over depleting precious energy and resources?
Good to know, thanks. Yes, I am perhaps fresh compared to what you have done.
I suspect the MoE&CC would have the argument their 550m setback addresses that now, but still those closer should be shut down as Stephana was saying.
Would you be willing to share the data with me? We are trying to do similar here. We are trying to lobby for the MoE&CC to admit they need to include infrasound and it’s characteristics in their protections. Also to invoke an epidemiological multidisciplinary study into the impacts of Wind on people. There have been several positive developments lately and I sense our government knows this and is preparing to step up the marketing fluff.
Mike, you’re on the right track. I would suggest that you make connections with groups of people who have exhaustively communicated with the MoECC, and get your group to the leading edge of the conversation as quickly as possible.
The setback of 550 meters is causing adverse health impacts and yet Health Units are not stepping up and connecting these adverse health impacts with the well known list of symptoms of distress from the noise and from infrasound radiation. Our government is well aware that there are very serious issues with the siting policy set by the MoECC. A breakthrough is long overdue.
I’ll submit a recent press release from Professor Richard Mann re: infrasound.
You are absolutely right Mike. The most recent Liberal commercial I have seen on CTV addresses climate change. It features great pictures of various species in Ontario.
On the flip side, meterorologists across Canada are televising a warm winter due to el niño.
Wouldn’t it be great if WCO could broadcast an awareness commercial? I am not familiar on how to proceed with this, or if it is even possible. I’m sure it would be expensive. Perhaps soliciting could provide financial support; I don’t know. Any thoughts on this?
Re: acoustical data, is not available at this time.
Onward and upward, the “fight” continues. Yes this is a “fight” brought on by the Liberal government here in Ontario. Ironically enough, it has been a silent war; an assault on the people of rural Ontario.
Thank you so much Mike and to those who continue to support the fight against the very serious negative health impacts caused to humans by the emissions of industrial wind turbines. The strong go on, slow but sure.
Has there ever been such a news blackout of important information as there is in this present situation?
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Wind Concerns Ontario
What news “blackout”? The media is just not interested, or not available—with the ravaging of the newsforce at publications and radio stations, there aren’t much resources left
This can be called a blackout or any name you want to label this situation with as it amounts to the same thing.
If information can be kept bottled-up in Ontario then information can’t get out to other parts of the country or to the world.
Press Release:Richard Mann University of Waterloo November 11, 2015
I first became interested in infrasound in May 2013 after reading a paper by Carmen Krogh dealing with adverse health effects caused by Industrial Wind Turbines. Infrasound refers to sound waves below the range of human hearing. Infra sound comes from a number of man-made sources including HVAC systems, industrial machinery, moving vehicle cabins, and energy generation (wind turbines, gas plants).
I was surprised that very little study had been done on this subject and the effects on humans. What information has been published has largely been ignored by both governments and the wind industry. While low frequency noise and infra sound are believed to impact human health, there are currently no standards for infra sound exposure. In most cases, low frequency sound is simply ignored.
I began researching ways to record infrasound and in joint experiments with a colleague at Waterloo we developed a method of isolating infrasound from a single wind turbine and measuring it free from the “clutter” of other turbines, wind noise Etc.
Our work was presented at the INCE/EUROPE Wind Turbine Noise conference in Glasgow, Scotland, in April, 2015.
I have been fortunate to have recently received approval of seed funding from both the School of Computer Science and Office of Research such that I will be able to purchase the necessary equipment and hire student research assistants allowing this research to go forward.
The focus of my research is as follows.
1 Develop the best possible methods and systems for measurement of infrasound in general and specifically that generated by Industrial Wind Turbines.
2 Develop methods and standards for analysis of information gathered both in our lab and in conjunction with other interested researchers.
3 Create infra sound in a lab setting to a documented duplicate of that generated by wind turbines and other man made devices.
4 Enable future testing on humans, by others with appropriate medical training and ethics approval, with the goal of establishing safe exposure levels.
5 Share the results of this research with others in the scientific community.
The number of manmade sources of infrasound continues to grow among us and the health and safety of individuals presently appears to be secondary to profit in the proliferation of these products. It will be of great benefit to society if we can establish safe levels of infrasound exposure and evolve associated emissions standards.
Richard Mann University of Waterloo November 11, 2015
Hi – I am fortunate to have been invited to discuss this study design. I am not a practicing expert in the field, but my post secondary vocation and hobby was Electronics Engineering, so I am very familiar with many of the technical aspects of the IWT noise emissions and the factors which influence them.
The fact that I am also subjected to those emissions and have made what I think are key observations provide me with somewhat unique perspective on this issue.
We must continue to prove the presence of infrasonic and low frequency IWT Signature emissions in people’s homes and use it together with people’s experiences and observations to invoke a epidemiological, multi-disciplined study. (Actually look into the problems which are both reported and theorized.)
Health Canada might actually get there, but we need to help them see why.
So we need information in two main areas; 1.) Health and Wellness Detriments captured in time and dated wellness logs and 2.) Conditions inside the homes and of the Turbines.
1.) We should widely distribute an agreed Wellness Log template. (I use one, but understand there are standards out there.)
2.) The more we can both synchronize capture of whole frequency spectrum noise and characteristics, (Narrow Band Analysis) visually what the turbines are doing (Decent frame rate video) and weather conditions (Through multi-channel devices) the better our information will be.
Capture of information must be proactively set such that we don’t spend all our time searching for evidence, rather we know when we have captured evidence. We must also use advanced filtering techniques such that we are able to conclusively sift through all sources of noise captured and state with confidence that a tree created this infrasonic emission, and a person that and one specific Wind Turbine another. We also need to monitor 24/7 ideally for months at a time. I suspect most acousticians are not truly capable of this.
My wind action group are trying to raise $25k to acquire equipment to add a capability of monitoring 24/7 in our communities. I feel anything less is compromising the result and using a contracted party to do all of it is not feasible long term.
We will have a meeting in West Lincoln to announce this and hopefully raise the required funds.