Wind turbine noise complaints mount, documents show

“Unbearable torture…please help us”

Wind Concerns Ontario releases a report on Ontario government records of 2017 wind turbine noise complaints

A report released today by Wind Concerns Ontario (WCO) shows that the government under Premier Kathleen Wynne did little to respond to citizen reports of environmental noise pollution by industrial-scale wind turbines. And, when government staff in the environment ministry offices did try to enforce Ontario noise regulations, they were rebuffed by corporate wind power operators.

The Wind Concerns Ontario report is a review of almost 700 noise complaints from people living inside 23 wind power facilities across Ontario. The total number of complaints records received by WCO now exceeds 5,200.

Response by the environment ministry was recorded in only 1.3 percent of the records in 2017; 54 percent of the files were marked “No” response by government staff.

Adverse health impacts were noted in staff notes and recorded comments by citizens calling in or emailing in 42 percent of the files, and 16 percent contained description of symptoms suggestive of exposure to low-frequency noise which is not audible but can cause harm.

The Wind Concerns Ontario report comes after a 17-month wait and several appeals to the Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner following the initial request for the records under the Freedom of Information Act. The noise complaints were made to the MInistry of the Environment and Climate Change during the pro-wind power Wynne government’s last full year in office.

Excerpts from the citizen complaints are included and provide a “litany of suffering” according to the WCO report.

“We find no peace … the assault is the same and at times greater in low wind speeds. [We have had] a thumping noise through our heads, long and steady, all day,” was one comment from someone living near the single turbine in Port Elgin, owned by the union Unifor.

“The noise has been bad for 24 hours,” said another resident, living inside the 140-turbine K2 Wind power facility. “I am exhausted from not sleeping.”

Another K2 Wind neighbour reported that the noise “drives a person insane when it goes on for hours…We are being impacted health-wise and are extremely agitated with the noise.”

“Unbearable … torture,” said another person. No response from the environment ministry was recorded on the file.

The corporate power operators are required by the terms of their Renewable Energy Approvals or REAs to act on these complaints, and to investigate the cause of complaints, take action, and ensure the complaints are not repeated. The Environmental Protection Act gives specific power to the environment ministry to take action.

In practice, however, Wind Concerns Ontario found in its review, the power operators were delinquent in filing audits to confirm compliance, and refused to take action when called upon by ministry staff. When the Owen Sound District Office, for example, demanded the operator of K2 Wind respond to noise complaints and implement noise mitigation until their (overdue) audit was filed, the company wrote back from its Texas headquarters with a refusal, stating “It is the Company’s view that the current circumstances do not objectively establish reasonable and probable grounds to require interim mitigation measures.” The operator, Pattern Energy, referred to its computer-generated predictive modeling for noise and said the modeling “is accurate.” In other words, our models say this can’t happen, therefore it isn’t.

The situation is unacceptable, Wind Concerns Ontario says.

“We’re recommending that the current Ontario government take action to enforce the regulations immediately,” says Wind Concerns Ontario president Jane Wilson. “It’s time to get rid of the outdated and non-protective protocol for measuring noise, stop letting the corporate power operators police their own operations, and re-invest and support our trained Environmental Officers—let them do the job they were supposed to do, and help the people of rural Ontario who have been forced to live next to these power generating machines.”

The Wind Concerns Ontario report on 2017 noise complaints is available here: Wind Turbine Noise Reports to MOECC in 2017-FINAL (3)

contact@windconcernsontario.ca

Wind Concerns Ontario is a coalition of community groups, individuals and families concerned about the negative impacts of industrial-scale wind power development on the environment, the economy, and people’s health.

Comments

Sommer
Reply

Thank you for publishing this WCO. Now you can see for yourself why residents lost faith in the process under the Liberal government. Some residents have endured this abuse and abuse upon abuse for 5 years.Did you really expect them to not be frustrated and angry?
Even under this Conservative government, with the same agents in the MoEPC, the response is utterly disrespectful. Letters to the Minister Christine Elliot have not been responded to either.
Harm is occurring in real time and yet this government is in no hurry to protect people.
Can you imagine if this was happening in your neighbourhood and to members of your family, or your friends and your neighbours? Objectifying residents being harmed is cruelty.

Wind Concerns Ontario
Reply

This is our third report and represents the most recent review of thousands upon thousands of pages of government records of noise complaints, by a team of volunteers. Yes, people have lost faith in the process for reporting but it is still there, and can be used. If people stop reporting, there will be no proof of a problem and Dalton McGuinty’s prediction that “sooner or later” people would give up, will have come true. There is no quit in us.
See this paper by Carmen Krogh, Jane Wilson and Beth Harrington on why the complaint process is important: https://www.scirp.org/journal/PaperInformation.aspx?PaperID=90562

Sommer
Reply

Is WCO aware that despite the fact that non compliant tonal noise was finally recorded in 2018, by the MoECP, after residents had reported it from shortly after the turbines were turned on in March of 2015, the turbines still have not been derated?
https://london.ctvnews.ca/wind-farm-ordered-to-reduce-noise-1.4438989
The reason given by an MoECP agent just yesterday is that, after the date in July when the derating was to have started, residents continued to report tonal noise, so the long term, on site equipment was eventually set up at the home of a resident…. again…. and is still operating and the turbines need to be running full tilt during the duration of the testing!
This is precisely the bungling craziness residents have been dealing with for almost five years now!
Who should residents turn to for help now?

Sommer
Reply

Given all of the effort it took to finally get the MoECC/MoECP to force derating, after having reported the noise for four years, and now realizing that there has been no derating, who exactly would you advise residents to report to?

Sommer
Reply

The fact that the MoECC/MoECP has only focused on tonal noise, when there is also swooshing and whomping, as well as LFN/acoustic pulsations/infrasound which has been harming people, (whether they are realizing the cause of the changes to their or health or not), makes this situation utterly unacceptable. Residents have no one to turn to for protection.
The fact that it was reported by the media that over half of the turbines were derated as of July 2019, and now residents have learned that they have still not been derated, says that the MoECP has failed miserably in their duty to protect residents from this harmful environmental acoustic pollution.
Why would residents have faith in this government?

Wind Concerns Ontario

It is currently the MECP. If you read the report you may see that at least some of the staff tried to hold the wind power operators to their REA requirements but were rebuffed, likely due to the cosy relationship between wind power developers and the government of the day. This government has pledged to act; note our recommendation to reinvest in and support the Environmental Officers to do their jobs—previously they were directed not to act.

Sommer

Why are residents reporting harm either stonewalled or being consistently redirected and led into a ‘dead end’?
Why are delay tactics still being used after five years of harm?

Wind Concerns Ontario

The best thing you can do is to keep filing complaints but make sure you get an Incident Report number for each complaint, then keep a record of your call/email and the situation at the time of your call. As frustrating as it is, try to stay calm and report the facts. Copy your MPP on your complaints. It seems endless but without actual complaints the government will have no proof of problems.

Sommer

Are we dealing with a protection racket?

Sommer
Reply

Take a look at the list of videos and documentaries that have been produced and compiled regarding the distress, disruption and harm that occurs in communities where these industrial scale wind turbines are ushered in by governments.
https://wind-watch.org/video-southpoint.php?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

Anyone continuing to protect the wind industry is part of the protection racket.

Richard Mann
Reply

We need urgent action, to stop Industrial Wind Turbines now due to known health harm. This is not an economic issue it is an ethics issue. Please ask anyone who denies health harm of Industrial Wind Turbines to watch this presentation. University of Waterloo, Waterloo Ontario Canada.

Title: “Infrasound and Low Frequency Noise: Physics & Cells, History & Health”
Speaker: Dr Mariana Alves-Pereira
Location: University of Waterloo
Date: September 12, 2019

Video archive of presentation:
https://livestream.com/itmsstudio/events/8781285

Dr. Alves-Pereira’s research profile is at www. researchgate.net/profile/Mariana_Alves-pereira

Note; there is approx 2 mins of dead air at the beginning. The talk is ~50 minutes, followed by a long Q&A.

Wind Concerns Ontario
Reply

Did you see the half-hour TVO presentation in which NDP energy critic Peter Tabuns, MPP for a downtown Toronto riding who will never have a wind turbine in his community, complains about a standby natural gas plant there, but wants more wind turbines. After sitting with a couple driven from their home by wind turbine noise and infrasound, simply comments that there is no proof infrasound harms anyone. Then the documentary film-maker inappropriately references the Health Canada study (which actually DID) find health impacts. Can you not edit this 50 minutes down to a few good clips (and get rid of the long dead air at the beginning, please) and then get people interested to watch the whole thing? The TVO presentation is here: https://www.tvo.org/video/documentaries/ep-6-hydro-rates

Richard Mann
Reply

Quoting WCO: “Can you not edit this 50 minutes down to a few good clips (and get rid of the long dead air at the beginning, please) and then get people interested to watch the whole thing? ”

I told you already (on Facebook) this is already out of my control. Livestream has the video now and I cannot change it. For your information there are already more than 5500 views of this video.

Please explain why someone behind wind turbines cannot take the time to watch the whole video, including the informative Q&A session.

The time for debate about format, protocol, politics or whatever is over. Health harm is known and documented.

September 12, 2019. Mariana Alves-Pereira (Lisbon, Portugal). “Infrasound and Low Frequency Noise: Physics & Cells, History & Health”.
Livestream:
https://livestream.com/itmsstudio/events/8781285

Wind Concerns Ontario
Reply

Anyone in communications will tell you it is not easy to get busy people to commit to watching a 50-minute video but you could attract them with a few video clips. We were just offering that suggestion as a way to help.

Sommer
Reply

TVO was sent the most up to date and highly relevant information on harm to health from wind turbines prior to the debate in order to be well prepared to ask questions about liability issues. They were even sent the most recent presentation that Dr. Mariana Alves-Pereira gave in France to a very large audience where she showed the map of Huron County and the densely sited turbines so close to peoples’ homes and how the French audience gasped and groaned at seeing the stupidity of siting decisions made here in Ontario.
In addition, Minister Bill Walker has been well informed about the harm to health of residents in Ontario.
The NDP spokespeople continue to ignore the issue of harm to health from turbines, despite commendable efforts made to inform them.

Sommer
Reply

Take a look at this information.

‘Advances in Engineering Feature: Audible Thumping from Wind Farms Can Travel Up to 3.5 km.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/4607882#ixzz6FdEqQmYp

Residents in rural Ontario have been reporting this audible noise for years. Why are rural residents continually being subjected to harmful audible emissions as well as acoustic pulsations/ LFN/Infrasound radiation that trespasses onto their property and into their homes?
Lawyers have identified Federal Statutes that have been violated. Who in this government should be speaking out on behalf of residents being harmed by these turbines?
I contacted Minister Lisa Thompson and she told me to contact the Federal Minister of Health.
Why does everyone in this government continue to ‘pass the buck’?
For years, every federal Minister of Health has refused to enforce the REDA. To my knowledge, they’ve even refused to reply. Correct me if I’m wrong.

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