Arkwright hears complaints about turbine sounds

ARKWRIGHT — The turbines are turning and with them there has been sound complaints from residents. According to the contract that the town of Arkwright has with manufacturer, EDP Renewables, the town is allowed to do an independent noise test.

“We have received nine complaints about noise,” Fred Norton, town supervisor noted at the last Arkwright Town Board meeting. “I have instructed our engineer, who we hired to supervise the construction of the project, to do the noise testing.”

Norton went on to read from their contract with EDP Renewables, the requirements of the noise testing, which, in many opinions, is no easy matter.

The sequence is thus:

1. Before checking, the noise meter must have a current calibration certificate by an accredited laboratory.

2. The people doing the study must become familiar with the noise meter and its settings.

3. The microphone must be set at one-and-a-half meters (3-5 feet) above the ground and where feasible, avoiding a measurement within eight meters (26 feet) of any walls, buildings and reflecting surfaces.

4. Ensure weather conditions are suitable with no heavy precipitations and sufficient wind speeds for the normal operation of the turbines; log these conditions.

5. Notify EDP upon completion. Give all info including weather conditions and all specifics, such as ambient noises, make and model of noise meter, etc.

6. If the town noise test indicates that the turbine noise is not in compliance, the town will notify the company and repeat the noise test on another date, known as a validation test, violation of sound is in excess of 50db (decibles).

Before the sequence of steps is started, advanced notice must be given to the company office providing proposed location, date and time. The company also has the right to accompany the town during the test.

The first test is being paid by the town and will be taken from the $350,000 account involved with the project, not from tax dollars. If a validation test is required, the engineer, which is GHD out of Buffalo, will be paid out of the noise test escrow account, not in excess of $900 per validation test. If exceeded the town will pay the difference.

Norton indicated that the complaints have tended to be when the wind was at around 12 miles an hour and coming from the southeast. Though the notification of the test to EDP Renewables has been done, the town hasn’t tested yet because those conditions, involved with the complaints, have not existed recently, but should the third week of the month.

When asked by individuals in the town what will happen if a turbine is found to be registering at above 50db the turbine is set to be repaired to become compliant. If, however, there are still issues, that particular turbine will not be allowed to work.

The next town board meeting will take place on Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m.

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