Noise News for Week of March 28, 1999

Highland Park, Texas, Works to Educate Public and Enforce New Leafblower Noise Ordinance

PUBLICATION: The Dallas Morning News
DATE: March 31, 1999
SECTION: Park Cities; Pg. 4N
BYLINE: Lee Zethraus
DATELINE: Highland Park, Texas
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Guy Lyman, a founder of Citizens Against Leafblower Machines

The Dallas Morning News reports officials are working to make sure residents of Texas town follow a new leafblower noise ordinance.

According to the article, Highland Park residents who are concerned that yard crews are not following the new Half-Throttle ordinance should call Town Hall to report the violation, town officials said. The ordinance was recently adopted to control leaf-blower noise by requiring that machines be operated with the power reduced.

The article reports Highland Park Department of Public Safety officers gave yard crews fliers explaining the new ordinance. The town will follow up by sending a letter to the company or individual to reconfirm the ordinance, he said. "If we see the same folks a second or third time, at some point we would issue a citation for disturbing the peace," said one town official. To date, no citations have been issued. Guy Lyman, a founder of Citizens Against Leafblower Machines, said in a news release that some residents have given out the fliers and that the noise was immediately reduced. Fliers are available at the town hall.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

High School Prom Committee to Request Exception to Noise Ordinance in Newport Beach, California

PUBLICATION: Los Angeles Times
DATE: March 31, 1999
DATELINE: Newport Beach, California

The Los Angeles Times reports high school students in Newport Beach, California, have come up against a noise ordinance in planning the 2000 prom.

According to the article, holding their prom in Newport Beach seemed like such a sweet, simple idea to Newport Harbor High School junior Alex Robinson and her fellow student body officers charged with planning the 2000 prom. Students had their sights set on Newport Dunes Resort and were dreaming of horse-drawn carriages and gondolas, with a band crooning in the background. But a month after students first proposed it, the plan appears to be crushed by a city noise ordinance that calls for quiet after 10 p.m. and by their refusal to compromise with it.

The article reports the students are planning to ask the City Council to make an exception for them, but they have made reservations and put a deposit at another location outside of Newport Beach, just in case. Students said they had their hearts set on Newport Dunes, which houses a motor home park, a restaurant, and a huge party tent. It would be perfect for their prom because it offers so many different kinds of entertainment. "We'd be more than happy to accommodate their prom," said Erica Schmidt, advertising manager at Newport Dunes. "However, in keeping with the city of Newport Beach, we have no music after 10 p.m." Schmidt said the club sometimes can get special permission from the city to play music until 11 p.m. but never later. Schmidt also said the students could continue to party until the stroke of midnight, but they'd have to do it quietly. But the prom isn't an occasion for restraint, Alex said. "That extra hour makes a big difference," she said. "Our school loves to dance." Chet Malek, Newport Harbor High School's activities director, said he thought the City Council should relent. "My basic feeling is that for one night, for such a unique event, they should," he said. "I realize that potentially it's opening up a can of worms, but my response to that is to me a high school prom is a little bit different than a birthday party or any other event."

The article states City Council members equivocated, saying they had not heard about the situation. "If they say they cannot have their event without city approval, then they are very welcome to come and talk to us," Mayor Dennis O'Neil said. "And if we decided it's appropriate, we'll seriously consider it."

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

FAA Accused of Having "No Decency;" Residents of Queens, NY, Say More Flights and Noise at LaGuardia and Kennedy Unacceptable

PUBLICATION: Newsday (New York, NY),
DATE: March 31, 1999
SECTION: News; Page A28
BYLINE: Pete Bowles and Jessica Kowal
DATELINE: Queens, New York
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Rose Marie Poferomo, resident; Claire Shulman, borough president; Charlotte Leff, resident;

Newsday reports residents who live near New York's LaGuardia and Kennedy Airports met in Queens last night to tell FAA officials they are dead set against increased flights and the accompanying noise.

According to the article, Queens residents criticized any plan to bring additional flights to LaGuardia and Kennedy Airports, saying they were already overwhelmed by ear-splitting noise, rattling dishes and interrupted conversations. Rose Marie Poferomo of Astoria Heights said she was "alarmed, angry and critical" that the Federal Aviation Administration might consider adding flights. She described "a shroud of deadly toxic fumes" and "an ear-splitting, heart-pounding din" of planes landing and taking off near her home. Poferomo was one of about 75 neighbors of the airports who attended a meeting at Borough Hall to tell FAA officials what they think about air-traffic noise and pollution. The FAA has asked Congress to phase out over five years its High Density Rule, which limits the number of flights at airports in New York and Chicago. FAA officials at the meeting said that they have just begun a study to redesign landing and takeoff patterns in the New York area, and that it will take three to five years to complete.

The article reports local Borough President Claire Shulman, who opposes any attempts to increase flights at the two airports, said LaGuardia and Kennedy each handle about 350,000 flights annually, an average of one takeoff or landing every minute between 6 a.m. and midnight. "It is essential we prevent any additional flights," she said. "Residents living under the flight paths are burdened with virtually continuous airplane noise. " Charlotte Leff of Malba said that when she complained to federal officials about the noise at LaGuardia, she was told that persons who chose to move to neighborhoods near the airports should have known what they were getting into. "My family did not study airplane patterns 32 years ago" when they bought the house, Leff said. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn) criticized the FAA for not having "any heart, any sense of decency" because it has been unwilling to change takeoff patterns to help nearby residents.

The article states Arlene Feldman, the FAA's regional administrator, responded, "The FAA's main function is safety. However, we understand we have an obligation" to make safety issues "compatible" with the desires of communities. Tom Bock, the FAA's manager of national airspace design for the New York region, said the FAA will spend $1 million for public meetings through the summer to discuss proposals to redesign air patterns at the two airports.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

EU Delays Vote to Ban Hushkitted Planes to Allow US to Propose Compromise

PUBLICATION: The Hartford Courant
DATE: March 30, 1999
SECTION: Business; Pg. D2
BYLINE: Barbara A. Nagy
DATELINE: Brussels, Belgium

The Hartford Courant reports the European Union's transport ministers have postponed a vote on the ban of older aircraft, giving U.S. officials more time to work with European Union executives on a compromise.

According to the article, the EU announced Monday it agreed to the delay after the United States dropped its outright objection to the proposed law. Neil Kinnock, the European commissioner responsible for transport policy, said that the extra time will give the EU a chance to consider U.S. concerns without compromising the content or effect of the new rule. The ministers had planned to adopt the new rule Monday. Instead, they said they will vote April 29 and consider modifications that "are compatible with the law" later this year. As is, the new rule would prohibit airlines in EU nations from registering certain older aircraft after April 1 of this year. After April 1, 2002, certain other aircraft would be prohibited from operating in Europe entirely. Officials from the U.S. departments of transportation, commerce and state had urged the EU to modify the proposed rule.

The article states of concern are 2,000 planes equipped with "hushkits," or mufflers, that put their engines in compliance with current international noise and pollution laws. The EU argues that hushkitted planes barely meet those guidelines, and that restricting their operations will reduce noise at European airports. The U.S. aerospace industry estimates that the ban would cost it $1 billion. Almost all of the older planes are powered by Pratt & Whitney engines. Pratt spokesman Mark Sullivan said the East Hartford company was pleased with the EU's decision. He would not comment on modifications the United States might seek.

According to the article, U.S. and industry officials maintain that an issue larger than economics is at stake: Europe, they said, had agreed to the international pollution standards, and was now refusing to live by them.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Canadian Race Officials Offer Compensation to Residents Hit Hardest by Noise from 3-Day Event

PUBLICATION: The Vancouver Sun
DATE: March 30, 1999
BYLINE: Celia Sankar
DATELINE: Vancouver, British Columbia CANADA

The Vancouver Sun reports in response to a health board's noise findings on last year's race, the Molson Indy is offering a noise compensation package to residents of a housing complex in Vancouver, British Columbia, during this year's three-day event.

According to the article, spurred by a health board report showing noise levels from the Molson Indy are disturbingly high, race organizers have offered a compensation package to Citygate residents affected by the sound of roaring engines. They are offering: - To put up shift workers and those with health problems at hotels during the day on each of the three days of the race. - To provide temporary office space on the Friday of the race for Citygate residents who operate home-based businesses. - To provide a field trip and outings to the Pacific National Exhibition for all children in the complex during the long weekend. - To again make ear plugs and ear muffs available to residents.

The article reports a Vancouver/Richmond health board report on last year's race said noise exposure in some 600 Citygate units facing Quebec Street exceeded Workers' Compensation Board standards for the requirement of hearing protection and was of special concern for children. Molson Indy general manager Stuart Ballantyne estimated this year's offer to residents will cost "in the tens of thousands." The three-day event, however, contributes $26 million to Vancouver's economy.

The article states Citygate residents are requesting that the hotel offer be made available to all residents. They also want the offer of the hotel stay extended to the entire Labor Day weekend. The racing events take place from Sept. 3 to 5 this year. Ballantyne described this demand as "ludicrous."

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Opposition to Logan Expansion Builds in Massachusetts

PUBLICATION: The Boston Globe
DATE: March 28, 1999
SECTION: North Weekly; Pg. 5
BYLINE: Alan Lupo
DATELINE: Boston, Massachusetts
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Anastasia Lyman, a leader of Communities Against Runway Expansion (CARE); John O'Connor, Cambridge environmentalist and businessman; John Vitagliano, resident and former Massport board member; John Mahoney, resident; Mary Ellen Welch, East Boston activist

The Boston Globe reports the Massachusetts Port Authority's momentum to get a new runway built at Logan Airport is slowly being matched by the opposition of residents, activists, leaders, and politicians.

According to the article, for more than two months, Massport seemed to be dictating the agenda for Logan's proposed 5,000-foot runway and new taxiway, which it said would reduce delays and spread noise more equitably over communities. Massport officials had met privately with leaders in the public and private sectors and had won the support of Governor Paul Cellucci, various business interests, and editorial writers. But not every power player was behind Massport. US Representative Michael Capuano, a Somerville Democrat, opposed the plans, and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino was moving towards opposition, while others remained on the fence.

The article reports meanwhile, Rep. Robert DeLeo, a Winthrop Democrat, who also represents part of Revere, and Rep. Eugene O'Flaherty, a Chelsea Democrat, whose district also includes Charlestown, were pushing bills to stop the Massport steamroller. Initially, they seemed to stand alone in the State House. Slowly, however, legislators had been stopping DeLeo and expressing interest in an issue that their constituents were telling them was crucial to their environment, health, quality of life, and even the value of their homes. These legislators said in the precincts, on the streets, in living rooms and meeting halls, opponents were arguing against Logan expansion. Constituents claimed that Massport's plan was shortsighted and that it would do more harm than good and accused the quasi-public agency of trying to pit neighborhood against neighborhood, charges Massport denied. DeLeo told the newly interested legislators that he would host a caucus in early March. "We must have had 30 or so people there," he said later, "a third to a half of them legislators, and the rest aides. Some reps who at first were sitting on the fence with the issue have heard from their constituents loudly and clearly that they had a problem with this. I sincerely feel as each day goes by, we're getting some momentum." Soon after, Menino confirmed his opposition and called for a second airport in suburbia.

The article goes on to say by that time, Massport opponents were forming a regional alliance, called Communities Against Runway Expansion, or CARE. At its initial meeting, Cambridge environmentalist and businessman John O'Connor argued that the fight was about more than a runway. "This is about whether we're going to have a democracy in this town," he said, referring to how Massport was immune to legislative interference. "Make this an issue of democracy, fairness and justice," he urged. "It's a great time to bring people together who traditionally don't work together." When CARE held its second organizational meeting in mid-March, about 90 people attended at the East Boston meeting hall. They came from East Boston, Winthrop, Chelsea, Charlestown, Malden, Melrose, Somerville, Cambridge, the South End, South Boston, Quincy, and the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group. They included residents of several races and various economic classes. CARE leaders told members to press Massport to withdraw its environmental impact report for failing to adequately study all alternatives. Massport strongly defends its report, which predicts that if no runway is built, delays and noise will only increase to the detriment of both the economy and environment. State officials must approve the report before Massport can ask that a 25-year-old federal court injunction against runways be lifted. Opponents, including Menino, have promised to fight that request. By the time CARE held its second meeting, Capuano had written an op-ed column for the Globe in which he urged Massport to develop a new proposal to reduce delays by examining terminal space, aircraft size, peak pricing, and other alternatives.

According to the article, by mid-March, a shift had occurred. In almost every neighborhood meeting, Massport was encountering angry opposition. "For me," recalled John Vitagliano, of Winthrop, and a longtime opponent of Logan expansion, "the meeting in Orient Heights was a litmus test. That's the section of East Boston that the runway is supposed to help with less noise, but the 115 people there did not buy the argument." Nor did most of the 150 people who gathered in the English High School auditorium last Monday night in Jamaica Plain, where Anastasia Lyman, a CARE leader, received a standing ovation after she skewered Massport by asking rhetorically, "Why cram in more planes? What do you do then? Fill in the harbor?"

The article reports the next day, the momentum kept rolling at a public hearing of the Legislature's joint transportation committee in a packed hearing room in the State House. After Cellucci testified for Massport's plans and Menino, against, legislators from Cohasset, Everett, Revere, and Boston urged their colleagues on the committee to stop the runway and seek a regional solution. The committee co-chair, Senator Robert A. Havern III of Arlington, pleased Massport opponents when he said that without a consensus, Runway 14/32 would not be built.

The article states the pressure to counteract Massport was taking place on at least three levels - federal, state and local. In Washington, US Representative J. Joseph Moakley, a South Boston Democrat who also represents communities south of Boston, had met privately with Jane Garvey, director of the Federal Aviation Administration. "All I did," Moakley said, "was ask her to make sure she looks very carefully at the environmental impact study. She said she would. I told her I am very suspect anytime someone wants to enlarge a runway with the promise that it's going to minimize overflight traffic." Also, a source said that Fred Salvucci, the former state transportation secretary and Massport board member who has fought Logan expansion for three decades, has spoken with Garvey, a former colleague of his. He declined to comment. At the state level, DeLeo's and O'Flaherty's band of legislators last week were preparing a letter of protest to Cellucci.

The article reports on the local level, John Mahoney, a Malden resident, who, having read about Massport's plans, called Mary Ellen Welch, an East Boston activist who has fought Massport for three decades, to say he wanted to get involved. He met with Massport employees, who explained their position, and then began reading the agency's lengthy environmental impact report. "I talked to some people in [ Malden] city government who knew nothing about it," he said. "I spoke to the City Council, and they elected me to represent Malden on Massport's Community Advisory Committee. I hope to get involved. I'm smart enough to see when someone is trying to sell me a bill of goods that I don't really want to buy."

The article states, "Just how far people like Mahoney are willing to go may be put to the test tomorrow, when, at 4:32 p.m., a time picked to symbolize the proposed Runway 14/32, CARE is scheduled to rally at the State House. What happens during and after that will indicate whether Massport and its critics are now evenly matched."

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

EU Delays Hushkit Ban for One Month, Will Consult with US

PUBLICATION: The New York Times
DATE: March 30, 1999
SECTION: Section C; Page 4; Column 3; Business/Financial Desk
BYLINE: Associated Press
DATELINE: Brussels, Belgium

The New York Times reports the European Union today delayed for a month a law on aircraft noise that that has given rise to fears of a trade dispute with the United States.

According to the article, the United States opposes the planned European Union noise reduction rules for jetliner engines, saying they are discriminatory and would cost the United States industry $1 billion. In retaliation, Congress has threatened a flight ban on the Concorde jetliner. European Union transport ministers agreed to delay the law from April 1st until the end of April to consult with the United States and said amendments could be introduced later if a compromise was found.

The article reports the EU proposal would ban planes from using "hush kits," devices that reduce airplane noise, and instead force airlines to install new quieter engines. It would apply only to new aircraft, meaning European Union airlines could no longer add planes outfitted with hush kits to their fleets. The United States says hush kits reduce engine noise adequately, but the European Union says they are not effective. Under the proposals, aircraft from nations outside the union would be banned in the union's zone as of April 1, 2002, unless they fly with engines that meet European Union requirements.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Pearson Official Pleased with Noise Trials; Rockwood Residents Cry, "Scam!"

PUBLICATION: The Toronto Star
DATE: March 29, 1999
BYLINE: Bob Mitchell and Tracy Huffman
DATELINE: Rockwood, Ontario CANADA
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Lawrence Mitoff, member of the Rockwood Homeowners Association

The Toronto Star reports while a spokesman for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority called the recent trial flight routes at Pearson International Airport "encouraging," residents of Rockwood, Ontario, see little hope of noise relief.

According to the article, an airport spokesperson says the community responded well to the trial flight routes from the new north/south runway at Pearson airport this past weekend with both positive and negative feedback. "I think the first of the trials we would classify as encouraging, especially in the morning when we were operating to the north," said Greater Toronto Airports Authority spokesperson Steve Shaw yesterday. However residents of the Rockwood area south of Pearson remain skeptical and claim the runaway should never have been built. "The Rockwood Homeowners Association considers the operation of the north/south runway to be illegal," said Lawrence Mitoff, of the association.

The article reports the trial routes, which will continue three days in April, are an attempt to lessen aircraft noise complaints from residents who live near Pearson. The majority of noise complaints have come from Rockwood area residents, to the south. Shaw said although the trial flights operating to the south were limited on Saturday, the response was still plentiful. "We had more calls from people in the south in that short time (30 minutes) than in the north," he noted. Airport officials are still reviewing all the input from the public, Shaw said. "There were some calls saying it was better, quite a few saying it was not better. But we still need to identify where the calls are from and the nature of the calls," he said. "It's a positive start."

The article states when winds dictate a southern route for aircraft heading west, north and south to places like Vancouver, Edmonton and Los Angeles, planes will initially take off traveling south and then turn west over a predominantly industrial corridor. But flights heading south, east and north for Orlando, New York and Montreal will still fly over the Rockwood area before heading out over Lake Ontario. "We don't know how many flights will be taking that route but clearly we're going to minimize those flights over Rockwood," Shaw said.

According to the article, Rockwood association's Mitoff said residents will still be affected by the noise. "This runway has had a terrible effect on our community," he said. "This is a bald-faced scam. They say, what have we got to lose? If it doesn't work, they can always go back to landings, which suggests landings are okay." The new north/south runway, which opened in December, 1997, has mainly been used for landings when winds require. Used when extra capacity is needed during crosswinds, the runway has irritated many of Rockwood's 14,000 residents since it opened. They were never told a runway would be built when they bought their homes back in the 1970s. At the time, the city's official plan said the federal government had promised there would be no more runways. Mitoff said the increased air traffic from the new north-south runway has brought low-flying jet and prop driven planes over Rockwood, which hadn't experienced aircraft noise in the past. "Noise and pollution are ruining the quality of life for residents, and there is an ever-present danger of an airliner going down in their subdivision," Mitoff said.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

LI Residents Complain about Noise, Fumes, Lights from New Rail Road Yard

PUBLICATION: Newsday (New York, NY)
DATE: March 28, 1999
SECTION: LI Life; Page G25
BYLINE: Emi Endo
DATELINE: Port Jefferson, New York

Newsday reports neighbors of a new Long Island Rail Road yard in Port Jefferson Station, New York, are complaining of noise, fumes, and lights.

According to the article, the Long Island Rail Road is building a new yard for cleaning, inspecting, repairing and testing trains. But the patience of its neighbors in Port Jefferson Station has been tried as fumes, noise and bright lights travel beyond an 8-foot fence that many find unattractive. Jane Capon, who has lived in her home near the site for 40 years, complained that when a train idles in the yard, fumes drift into her residential neighborhood and irritate her eyes. "I walked out my door and the diesel fume was so heavy it burned my throat," she said. She and her husband, Steve, were among a group of residents who expressed their frustration and demanded some solutions at a Port Jefferson/ Terryville Civic Association last week. They complained that the LIRR had been unresponsive - and even hostile - to their concerns. "One person told me to move or get air conditioning," Capon said of a railroad employee. "We want to be able to sit in our backyard and open our windows and be able to sleep at night," Capon said. "We basically want the railroad to be good neighbors." Suffolk Legis. Vivian Fisher (D-Stony Brook) said, "People feel that they are not being respected."

The article states LIRR spokesman Brian Dolan said, "We are aware of the neighbors concerns" and are working to resolve them. Tom Waring, senior vice president for operations for the LIRR, proposed setting up a point of contact for neighbors so complaints can be handled by the appropriate authorities. Capon said that when locomotives are plugged into electric power, they make a loud "psh, psh, psh" noise when the air is released. "It sounds like a dragon snorting," she said. Nick LaRocco, LIRR chief engineer for strategic investments said that engineers were studying the noise levels and would recommend how to lessen the impact on the neighborhood within several months. "We're going to try to come up with the right solution," he said. LaRocco said the railroad would monitor the fumes to address concerns about the exhaust emitted while locomotives idle for at least an hour. In response to complaints about excessive horn blowing, Waring said the LIRR would audit the situation. He also said the LIRR would take steps to reduce bright lights bothering some residents. To improve the look of the security fence, LaRocco said the agency could make it look like a stockade fence or plant ivy.

According to the article, when complete, the yard will include cleaning platforms, stormwater drainage and an oil and water collection system. Trains will be plugged into electrical power and workers will do light repair work such as fixing computers and seats. The nine tracks will likely be used around the clock except during rush hour, with the first train being turned on at about 3 a.m.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Acoustic Ecology: Hearing Care and Preserving the Rare Sounds of Silence

PUBLICATION: Cooking Light
DATE: April 199
SECTION: Better Health; pp. 44, 46, & 48.
BYLINE: Richard Laliberte

Cooking Light Magazine reports natural quiet in the United States is difficult to find in these modern times of more cars, more planes, more appliances, and more people. What we hear and how well we hear it is a major concern of both audiologists and a movement called acoustic ecology.

According to the article, Gordon Hempton, a Port Angeles, Washington, sound recordist has spent 18 years creating a library of soundscapes from natural settings all over the world. Several years ago, a Public Broadcasting System documentary about Hempton described how difficult it has become to find places with what he calls "noise-free intervals" of any significant length, even in locations as remote as the dripping forests of the upper Amazon. Last spring, on a tour of 15 states west of the Mississippi, Hempton found only two areas - in the mountains of Colorado and the Boundary Waters of Minnesota - that were free of sounds such as motors, aircraft, industrial clamor, and gunfire for more than 15 minutes during daylight. Elsewhere, even in such remote places as Montana and the Dakotas, "it was difficult to find a noise-free interval that exceeded a minute and a half," Hempton says. It's an astonishing degradation that he often finds people either don't notice or don't believe. "If you think it's impossible," he says, "you aren't really listening, or you have a hearing impairment."

The article reports both of these issues-what we hear and how well we hear it-are becoming a growing area of concern both among audiologists and a new movement (of which Hempton is a leading figure) that concerns itself with "acoustic ecology." A coalition formed in 1993 called the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology draws members from such diverse disciplines as architecture, physics, sociology, psychology, and audio media to address goals that include preserving the sounds of nature, encouraging people to pay better attention to what they hear, and setting aside quiet times and places. Allied organizations such as Noise Pollution Clearinghouse are working to raise awareness about auditory assaults and advocating laws that limit intrusive sound. "The world is becoming noisier simply because there are more of us," says Maureen Thompson, director of the audiology-services branch at the American Speech-Language-hearing Associate (ASHA) in Rockville, Maryland. "There is more development, more cars, more leaf blowers, more loud music."

The article states the question is what harm does noise really do? The most obvious damage is the alarming premature hearing loss that audiologists say is occurring at progressively younger ages. A 1992 study of nearly 1,500 children in suburban California, for example, found that in 10 years, the rate of hearing loss had doubled among second-graders and quadrupled among eighth-graders. Experts say that high-decibel sound from stereo headphones and concerts often contributes to hearing loss in both children and adults. But a large number of household devices can produce sounds above the 80-decibel mark that ASHA considers potentially dangerous, including lawn mowers, garbage disposals, and cordless phones. More than a third of hearing impairments among adults are thought to be caused by exposure to loud sound rather than inevitable age-related declines, according to the National Institutes of Health. Ear damage is the product of both a sound's volume and how long you hear it. But short, loud sounds (such as a firecracker) and relatively quieter sounds you experience over time (an amplified jazz concert) can equally harm the tiny hairs called cilia on cells in the inner ear. These hairs translate mechanical energy from sound waves into nerve impulses that go to the brain, and are irreparable. "Our ears are not made for a noisy world-they're made for communication, which occurs at a level far below what we experience in the streets or at the airport," says Jochen Schacht, Ph.D., professor of biological chemistry and otolaryngology at the University of Michigan's Kresge Hearing Research Institute. "There are simply no loud sounds in nature, except maybe thunder. The fact that we're losing our hearing is no more surprising than if we were losing our sight by looking at the sun."

According to the article, because the natural world in which we evolved is a quiet one, we still interpret noise as danger, according to Hempton. "When our ears are receiving too much information, we become insecure and stressed," he says. Numerous studies over the years have shown that stress hormones rise in response to noise, including the sound of traffic. Other studies suggest that noise causes increases in blood pressure that don't abate as people "get used to" the sound. In fact, people can't ignore noise even when they're asleep: A recent German study found that nighttime noise similar to traffic near an airport shortened subjects' deep sleep, raised their adrenaline levels, and left them feeling worse in the morning compared to quiet nights. The long-term significance of such findings is still unknown, but even in the short term, aircraft noise in schools has been linked with poor performance in reading and problem-solving. "Noise affects your concentration and can be fatiguing," Thompson says.

The article concludes by saying making sure quiet places exist and spending time there is a part of what acoustic ecology and sensible care of your hearing are both about. If we're more aware of the intrusion of modern noise, we can begin to take steps toward ensuring that the sounds of silence are preserved and valued.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Roxbury, Mass., is Loser in Noise Turf Battle, Say Residents

PUBLICATION: The Boston Globe
DATE: April 3, 1999
SECTION: Metro/Region; Pg. B1
BYLINE: Adrian Walker
DATELINE: Roxbury, Massachusetts
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Anastasia Lyman, president of Runway 27 Coalition; Anna Poor, resident; Mary Davis, Roxbury's coalition representative

The Boston Globe reports the Runway 27 Coalition in Massachusetts now has former members saying one faction benefited at the expense of another community in its battle over noise pollution from Logan Airport.

According to the article, the Runway 27 Coalition represents 21 communities in the flight path of one of Logan International Airport's busiest runways. The grass-roots group has battled the Federal Aviation Administration since 1976 over noise pollution and other issues. In 1996, the coalition won a major victory: The FAA agreed to change the flight path of Runway 27, rerouting traffic away from several city neighborhoods. Planes were diverted from much of Jamaica Plain in favor of a path that crossed the heart of Roxbury to Franklin Park, and sharply increased air traffic over the South End. The change was made to settle the 16-year battle between the FAA and the Runway 27 Coalition, which had sued the government arguing that the path established in the early 1970s had been approved without the required noise and environmental studies. The new path was expected to provide noise relief for 6,000 residents.

The article reports the results of the change, however, have Roxbury residents suspecting that they were sold out by the coalition, which agreed in negotiations with the FAA to support a plan that diverted planes away from Jamaica Plain and other communities at the expense of Roxbury and the South End. Mary Davis, who was then Roxbury's representative on the coalition, says negotiations over the flight path quickly turned into desperate turf battles. But she said she believed the final agreement would spread the misery far more equitably than it has. "Everyone was pushing for their own neighborhood," Davis said. "What had been proposed I objected to, and even that was not the flight path as it is being flown now." Among those battling for relief for her own neighborhood was Anastasia Lyman, president of the coalition since it was founded. Lyman's section of Jamaica Plain lay almost directly under the path of 13,000 planes a year. That changed after the new path moved the planes southwest on a path they follow over Roxbury until they reach Franklin Park, where they disperse depending on their destination.

The article states at a community meeting in Roxbury Tuesday night, residents demanded to know why Roxbury lies under so much air traffic and insisted that the problem is noticeably worse than it was a few years ago. Some people in Roxbury complained that they were being shafted at the time, but were badly outnumbered within the coalition. Roxbury resident Anna Poor wrote to the FAA a few months before the change was adopted, protesting changes that she said would harm Grove Hall and Egleston Square. "These neighborhoods struggle every day with serious crime problems and equally serious quality of life issues," Poor wrote. "To further batter our neighborhoods every day with noise pollution that the more affluent parts of town will successfully escape every day is unconscionable."

According to the article, Lyman insists that the coalition ultimately accepted the best of several less-than-perfect alternatives offered by the FAA. She added that the new flight path would spare residents noise if pilots flew it properly. The coalition says that only 36 percent of the planes that use the path follow it exactly. Lyman says she has been scapegoated for well-intended changes that haven't been followed. "If anyone is representing this as one community that wasn't represented and is now getting all the noise, that's incorrect."

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Raleigh, NC, Home of Db (Decibel) Drag Racer Champion, Adopts Car Audio Ordinance

PUBLICATION: The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC)
DATE: April 3, 1999
SECTION: News; Pg. B1
BYLINE: Joanna Kakissis
DATELINE: Raleigh, North Carolina

The News and Observer reports in an attempt to control drive-by concerts, Raleigh, North Carolina, will likely adopt an ordinance prohibiting music that is audible 50 feet from a vehicle.

According to the article, microchips in stereo amplifiers and the deep bass tones of popular music have turned car-stereo music into a chronic nuisance: an aural enemy that, according to some critics, can shake windows and keep an unwilling audience up and angry all night. "Once upon a time, you could hear Metallica, but once the car was more than 100 feet away you couldn't hear anything," said Glenn McCarthy, a national sales manager for Hifonics, a Chicago-based company that makes car stereos. "Now, it feels like a space shuttle is taking off right next to you, and it doesn't take a lot of power to produce that sting." In the past five years, as car stereos have gotten better, cheaper and more popular, and their sounds have hit the streets of Raleigh, the council has looked at writing an ordinance to control the music - any music, said Julian Prosser, the city's administrative services director. "It's not the character of the music, but rather the kind of sound system," Prosser said. "I imagine if you're playing Puccini too loud, it would still be a problem." Cities and towns across the United States now have ordinances restricting music from automobiles. The Raleigh City Council's Law and Public Safety Committee approved the new ordinance last week, and it could come before the full council for a vote Tuesday.

The article reports city officials acknowledge that the biggest issue will be enforcement. Last year, Raleigh Police Chief Mitch Brown told City Manager Dempsey Benton that police officers may have problems measuring the 50 feet because a driver may move a car and, in many instances, disappear from the scene altogether. "By the time the officer arrives after being dispatched, the sound source will have left the scene, and the officer will not be able to locate anyone to charge," Brown wrote then. McCormick, though, said the law "is definitely enforceable," adding that "if people can be charged, there will be pressure not to repeat it."

The article states the ordinance's critics, including car stereo installers and their customers, say it's unfair to punish music-lovers and ignore other noises from the rest of the motorized vehicle world. "What about the road construction noise and the motorcycles and all that?" asked 22-year-old resident Matt Puryear. His car stereo can get so loud that he can't drive and play it at the same time without getting distracted. "I agree that it's irresponsible to go into a neighborhood at 2 in the morning with the stereo slammin'," he said, "but why single out just the car audio people?" McCormick responded: "I don't like motorcycle noise myself either. But it's very transient. In my entire time here, I've never had anyone complain about motorbike noise. " Loud music, he said, is another story. "Sometimes, I'm sitting in the car and I have two radios on, an AM radio and the police radio," said Brown, the police chief. "And I still hear music coming from a youngster's car."

According to the article, bass music can be so intense that some loudness lovers compete in "db [decibel] drag racing," in which drivers rev their engines and their car stereos for the most piercing sound. The current world record-holder is Jay Lovelace of Raleigh, the car stereo manager at Raleigh's Creative Acoustics store. At a recent db drag racing event, he cranked up the sound to 174.2 decibels - louder than a jet taking off at close range, and almost loud enough to break human bones. The decibel level for the contest, held last November in Nashville, Tennessee, was measured by computer. "Normally I like to hear [the music] and hear it clean, and I like it a little louder," Lovelace said. "I don't like it blowing my ears out." But he is not in favor of an automobile noise ordinance that doesn't consider other loud sounds from cars, too.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Judge Rules Florida Landowners Must Prove Decreased Property Value in Airport Noise Suit

PUBLICATION: The Palm Beach Post
DATE: April 3, 1999
SECTION: Local, Pg. 1B
BYLINE: Tim O'meilia
DATELINE: West Palm Beach, Florida

The Palm Beach Post reports a judge's ruling may have crippled the case of Palm Beach, Florida, landowners who claim their peace of mind is shattered by the noise of 85 air flights a day over their homes from Palm Beach International Airport.

According to the article, the residents, banded together as the Palm Beach Neighborhood Association, sued in March 1998 after county officials refused to consider a ban on air traffic from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. The Palm Beach residents live in a four-block stretch, directly east of the Palm Beach International Airport. "One thing (the residents) really wanted was a nighttime curfew," Mayans said. Noisy planes are fined for takeoffs and landings between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. But Deputy County Attorney Gordon Selfridge said the Economic Council, tourism officials and county commissioners all opposed an outright curfew. The group and the county had agreed on banning older aircraft, developing stricter pilot guidelines for quieter landings and departures, and creating a $100 million insurance policy.

The article reports in order to win their lawsuit, the island residents must prove their property values actually decreased - not merely increased more slowly than their neighbors' - and that their homes are virtually unlivable, Palm Beach Circuit Judge Kathleen Kroll ruled Thursday. Kroll said, "In rapidly growing areas like Florida, it is difficult, if not impossible, to show an actual decrease. Increased values are experienced naturally due to population growth and limited water frontage," the judge wrote. "Traditionally, vacant land values there have increased less than values in comparable areas outside the flight path," said Joy Hearn, a senior appraiser for the county Property Appraiser's Office. She said values in the flight-path area have increased about 30 percent since 1994.

The article states "The ruling will make it very difficult for them to prevail," said Deputy County Attorney Gordon Selfridge. Selfridge said the county would request financial records from the homeowners to prove the value of their homes has not decreased. "Unless we can show that a property's value went down since the date of purchase, we can't prove our case," said Stephen Mayans, attorney for the42 homeowners. The group could appeal, refile the case in federal court, or go to trial against Palm Beach County. Mayans said it could take a month before he can meet with all the clients to decide.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

New Grant Will Soundproof More Homes Affected by Noise from Burbank Airport

PUBLICATION: The Daily News of Los Angeles
DATE: April 2, 1999
SECTION: News, Pg. N3
BYLINE: Lee Condon
DATELINE: Burbank, California

The Daily News of Los Angeles reports a new grant of federal funds will provide sound insulation for more homes affected by noise from the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport.

According to the article, Burbank Airport officials said Thursday they have received $3 million in federal funds to soundproof Mingay Adult School and 52 homes in Burbank and Los Angeles. Part of an ongoing program to reduce jet noise heard by residents who live near Burbank Airport, the latest grant is part of $22.5 million the Federal Aviation Administration and the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority have committed to insulating local structures.

The article reports a total of 2,300 homes qualify for the measures, which include the installation of new doors, windows, attic insulation and, possibly, central heating and air conditioning. "We now have the funds to completely sound-insulate Mingay Adult School from top to bottom," said Dan Feger, director of engineering, planning and environmental programs for Burbank Airport. The airport's goal is to start work on 25 homes every three months.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Friends of the Earth Supports EU Directive to Ban Noisy Aircraft in Europe

PUBLICATION: European Report
DATE: April 2, 1999
SECTION: No. 2396

According to the European Report, two non -governmental organizations have criticized the European Union for giving in to pressure from the United States to delay a ban on older and louder "hushkitted" aircraft in European skies.

The article states The Aviation Environment Federation and The Right Price for Air Travel Campaign, a Friends of the Earth Europe initiative, has issued a statement regretting the decision EU Transport Ministers made on March 29 to postpone for one month the entry into force of the draft EU Directive on noise from old aircraft. In a joint statement released on March 30, the two organizations urge the European Union not to surrender to pressure from the United States, and maintain the original proposal to prevent the addition of hushkitted aircraft to Member States' registers from April 1, 1999.

The article reports the groups' statement stresses the fact that hushkitted aircraft offer no significant noise improvement, and result in higher emissions. It adds that the forecast growth in demand for aviation is likely to average at least 5% per year over the next 10-15 years. In 1998 alone, passengers using EU airports rose by 7.5%. The majority of airports in the European Union are located in urban areas, and people living near these airports suffer greatly from aircraft noise. A delay of the EU hushkit Directive in order to call for stricter aviation noise standards to be agreed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is not an environmentally-sound option, the groups say, because in the past the ICAO's General Assembly has rejected EU proposals to reduce noise.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

RI Residents Invited to Comment on Plans to Limit Noise from T.F. Green Airport

PUBLICATION: Providence Journal-Bulletin
DATE: April 2, 1999
SECTION: News, Pg. 3C
DATELINE: Warwick, Rhode Island

The Providence Journal-Bulletin reports on Monday, residents of Cranston and Warwick, Rhode Island, will have a final opportunity to comment on a list of noise controls proposed for T.F. Green Airport, including significant changes in the flight paths over the city.

According to the article, a $500,000, year-long noise study, commissioned by the state Airport Corporation, proposes several noise controls on the ground and in the air. Its major recommendations are to put more jet takeoffs and landings on the shorter, crosswinds runway-with the intention of reducing noise in neighborhoods in line with the main runway-and to create new flight paths intended to move noise away from neighborhoods and disperse it over highways, industrial and commercial areas, the Providence River and the Bay. If the plan is adopted by the Federal Aviation Administration, it will also determine how many Warwick houses are eligible for sound insulation, at mostly federal expense.

The article reports the final draft of the document, called a "Part 150" study, is open for public inspection in the offices of the Airport Corporation at T.F. Green, the Warwick and Cranston city clerks, and at public libraries in the two cities. The Airport Corporation hearing is scheduled for Monday evening in Warwick. At the same time, officials of the Airport Corporation and study consultants Landrum & Brown will be available to meet privately with residents to explain the recommendations and answer questions.

The article states in a related issue, Democratic Rep. Joseph M. McNamara, a frequent critic of the airport, said yesterday he plans to meet informally with constituents tomorrow morning in Warwick to talk about the study. McNamara said he would bring a copy of the lengthy study for constituents to review.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Lawmakers Unite to Impose Noise Restrictions, Including a Curfew, at Teterboro Airport

DATE: April 2, 1999
SECTION: News; Pg. L01
BYLINE: Tina Traster
DATELINE: Teterboro, New Jersey
ACTIVISTS, INDIVIDUALS, AND GROUPS MENTIONED: Emma Perez, founder of the Alliance of Municipalities Concerning Air Traffic

The Record reports federal and state lawmakers are urging the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to impose curfews at Teterboro Airport and force other restrictions on jet traffic to improve living conditions for neighboring residents.

According to the article, the proposal to close the airport from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily, except for emergency and government flights, is contained in a letter being sent next week to Lewis Eisenberg, president of the Port Authority. The letter, which outlines several requests to both the Port Authority and the Federal Aviation Administration, is signed by Sen. Robert G. Torricelli, D-N.J.; Reps. Steve Rothman, D-Fair Lawn, and Marge S. Roukema, R-Ridgewood; four state lawmakers, and Bergen County Executive William "Pat" Schuber. "As soon as we receive the letter, we will study it and respond appropriately to the elected officials," said Bill Cahill, a Port Authority spokesman. The Port Authority owns Teterboro Airport, and the FAA regulates air traffic.

The article reports for two years, lawmakers and citizens have fought unsuccessfully to reduce jet noise over communities near Teterboro Airport by limiting the number of flights. "There is still a lot more to do, which is why Democratic and Republican lawmakers have joined one another to come up with this list of suggested improvements," Rothman said. "I'm optimistic because this letter has been signed by lawmakers at many levels," said Emma Perez, founder of the Alliance of Municipalities Concerning Air Traffic, a citizens group. Teterboro Airport is used by corporations shuttling executives to and from the metropolitan region. The commuter airport has been busier in recent years because the economy has been strong. "Teterboro Airport is not compatible with residential areas, and the best part of the letter is the request for a curfew. People are getting angrier and angrier. The only way we will get anything done is if our elected officials unite to make changes." People living around the commuter airport have long complained about airplane noise interrupting their conversations, drowning out their televisions, and dampening their enjoyment of barbecues and other outdoor activities. They also are worried about air pollution. The lawmakers also are asking both the Port Authority and the FAA to review air quality around the airport and to evaluate the effects of jet emissions.

The article states in Moonachie, Councilman John Schwartz has expressed concern that jet engine emissions may be linked to a high rate of cancer in the town. He is hoping that data he currently is collecting will convince state or federal officials to study the region. In 1993, the federal Environmental Protection Agency conducted a study of air pollution around Midway Airport on Chicago's South Side. It ranked aircraft engine emissions fifth on a list of potential cancer-causing hazards, behind automobiles, but ahead of steel mills, hazardous waste facilities, and other industrial polluters. Health officials, however, look for "clusters" of a specific type of cancer or several cases of a rare tumor and cannot study possible links to varied types of cancer.

According to the article the New Jersey lawmakers are also requesting that all aircraft using Teterboro be equipped with a new, quieter "Series III" engine, which will be required in commercial jets by year's end. They want officials to limit the size of jets landing at Teterboro to a maximum of 100,000 pounds to reduce the likelihood of serious accidents occurring, and to prevent jets from queuing up on runways because idling aircraft exacerbate noise and air pollution.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Florida Town Restricts Lawn-Mowing Hours after Residents Complain of Noise

PUBLICATION: Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale),
DATE: April 2, 1999
SECTION: Community Close-Up, Pg. 3
BYLINE: Jeremy Milarsky
DATELINE: Margate, Florida

The Sun-Sentinel reports the town of Margate, Florida, has crafted a new ordinance to specifically target lawn-mowing noise.

According to the article, at Vice Mayor Art Bross' request, the Margate City Commission is expected to pass an ordinance next week that makes it illegal to use a power lawnmower between sunset and 7 a.m. every day of the week. Commissioners unanimously voted to pass the ordinance in a meeting March 24. They will consider the ordinance in a final second reading Wednesday.

The article reports Bross was responding to complaints made by residents who live near the city's three major golf courses. Maintenance workers on those courses sometimes cut grass on the grounds before the fairway opens, which is sometimes before sunrise, Bross said. "People were complaining, especially those who live around the golf courses," Bross said. In a worst-case scenario, violators of the ordinance could face a fine of up to $500 or 60 days in jail, City Attorney Eugene Steinfeld said. Realistically, though, code enforcement officers intend to first warn people, then fine them a small amount like $25 a day if they continue violating the ordinance, he said. Margate police Sgt. Tom McNally said the city's current noise ordinance technically makes it illegal for someone to use loud power tools after dark, but officials wanted to spell out the use of lawnmowers with a new law.

The article states those in Margate's golfing business expect to feel the impact of the new law. Randall Clemment, the Pro Shop manager at Family Golf Centers on Banks Road, said he may have to hire more people to get his fairway cropped before the driving range opens at 8 a.m. "It would make our job a little more difficult," he said.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Letters: California Residents Continue the El Toro Airport Debate

PUBLICATION: Los Angeles Times
DATE: April 1, 1999
SECTION: Part A; Page 9; Forums
DATELINE: Costa Mesa, California

The Los Angeles Times published two letters from California residents expressing their views about El Toro Airport issues. The first letter is written by Michael Steiner of Costa Mesa, California, who criticizes the idea of test flights at El Toro Airport. Steiner writes:

"Supervisor Tom Wilson does protest too much in his March 25 letter where he talks of "facts and credibility" (Rebuttal, "Personal attacks won't fly in El Toro issue").

"He won't admit the real reason he flip-flopped on the El Toro airlines tests. Instead, he feels the need to take a cheap shot at Tom Edwards. That may get him votes down south, but it has nothing to do with the facts of how noise monitoring is done. That is what this argument is actually about. Edwards knows this stuff like the back of his hand. Maybe Wilson knows a little, but he probably didn't when he proposed test flights.

"Here are the facts of noise monitoring at John Wayne, as I understand them: There are about six or eight recording stations around the Back Bay. They are constantly monitoring noise levels from all John Wayne flights. Different noise levels from the same flight, same jet, but different day or time are the norm. The variance in the noise levels is due to many factors: day or night, weather, pilot, wind direction, load and tracking. The flights, when measured over a period of time, will show a range of noise levels from low to high and an "average noise level" that is the most commonly used airport stat. Tracking is very important. The term refers to the pilots' planned course on takeoff. Jet pilots taking off from John Wayne are instructed to track directly down the center of the Back Bay until over the ocean. Once the plane takes off, however, the pilot can pretty much fly where he chooses.

"Monthly reports show pilot tracks all over the Back Bay. The wider the tracks, the larger the noise footprint. Occasionally they fly over Eastbluff or homes on the west side of the bay. When that occurs, the noise level in those homes shoots way above the average noise level. However, that is only a single flight and is averaged with all the flights each month. The monthly average is much quieter in these homes.

"Is similar noise monitoring at El Toro possible? Yes. But not with test flights.

"First, there are many more runways that are twice as long and much wider than John Wayne. The areas to be monitored are enormous compared with John Wayne. To obtain accurate average noise levels would require months of daily data recorded at 50 or more stations -- needed because jets out of El Toro will tend to spread their "tracks" over very wide areas. And the tracks of future commercial flights are not known yet.

"These are the facts: If Wilson knew accurate noise monitoring was this complicated and would be impossible for test flights at El Toro, why did he propose this in the first place? Maybe he had no idea what was involved, just suddenly thought it was a good idea and wanted to propose it before someone else did. Now, he calls it a publicity stunt and continues to blame his flip-flop on the staff. Yet they knew accurate El Toro monitoring was impossible from the beginning.

"Wilson either still doesn't understand how noise monitoring is done or is banking on the public not understanding it -- so much for his credibility. He also knows he might be committing political suicide unless he stops the test flights.

"When commercial jets are flown out of El Toro, most South Countians are going to be amazed at how quiet they are. That is the fact Wilson fears most. Without El Toro as an issue, Wilson is a nonentity as a politician. Tom Edwards is much more knowledgeable. I would love to see them debate any issue."

The second letter published is from Jim Davy, of Dana Point, California, who advocates for passage of the Safe and Healthy Communities Initiative that may stop the El Toro Airport. Davy writes:

"The good folks in places like Newport Beach, Seal Beach and Cypress should be more kindly to South County. Enough talk about our airport motivations and such.

"The Safe and Healthy Communities Initiative is resident-friendly in all areas. It protects us by requiring the county to change its planning routine when creating or enlarging airports. An environmental impact report and public hearings will be required before the question is taken to the voters, and then a two-thirds majority will be required for approval. Is that friendly to homeowners or what?

"When Safe and Healthy passes and stops El Toro, you might expect the big money boys to look for alternatives at John Wayne or Los Alamitos. But the new law will stop them cold. There'll be no more hijacking of the county planning process. Let them talk to the supervisors about a revenue-sharing plan at Ontario or March Air Force Base where their business is welcomed and our homes are not at stake."

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Advisory Board in Mass. Works to Protect Community from Power Plant Noise

PUBLICATION: The Patriot Ledger
DATE: April 1, 1999
SECTION: News; Pg. 20C
BYLINE: Steve Adams
DATELINE: Weymouth, Massachusetts

The Patriot Ledger reports Weymouth, Massachusetts, town officials are carefully considering noise and other pollution concerns at a proposed power plant.

According to the article, to ensure that a 750-megawatt gas-burning power plant on the banks of the Fore River won't create a noisy nuisance for residents in North Weymouth, local officials who are considering subjecting Sithe Energies' proposed plant to tougher standards than state guidelines. Health board member Gary Peters said an increase of one decibel is enough to keep residents up at night. "Do we go any tighter than the state's regulations? That's the town's option," he said. "We're still talking about that as a (health) board."

The article reports the discussion took place during last night's meeting of the Edgar Station Reactivation and Review Committee, which advises the selectmen on the $300 million proposal to tear down the former Boston Edison plant. Edgar Station closed in 1978. A former engineer for the company that drew up Sithe's draft environmental impact report said the plant will be audible from houses on the nearest road. "If you stand out on Monatiquot Street, you will definitely hear the plant run," said Douglas Sheadel, who helped Epsilon Associates of Maynard compile the report. "That's an important thing to have on the record. It isn't that the plant will be inaudible, but the increase will not be noticeable." Erick Kalapinski, an acoustic engineer for Tech Environmental of Waltham, said the plant will not cause an increase of more than 10 decibels at the property line. That is the maximum level allowed by the state Department of Environmental Protection. But the health board is considering imposing even more stringent noise limits, Peters said. "These issues need to be discussed so we can protect the community," he said. Public works commissioner Robert Loring said the constant nature of the noise from the plant's pair of giant turbines will generate complaints from neighbors. "When you listen to that same noise 24 hours a day, it can drive you insane," Loring said. The plant's turbines will be enclosed in a noise-treated building. Ventilation fans will be of a low-noise design, according to the draft environmental impact report, and gas compressors will be enclosed in an acoustically designed building.

The article states other concerns have surfaced about Sithe's plans to store ammonia used for emissions reduction in a 90,000-gallon tank. Loring wants the committee to consider a different emissions reduction system called selective catalytic reduction, which uses potassium carbonate rather than ammonia to reduce emissions. Ammonia can cause health problems ranging from eye irritation to death, depending upon the concentration, if accidentally released. But Kennedy said Sithe would be the first large-scale plant to use the alternative system. "I just don't think you want to be first with a new technology like this," Kennedy said. Committee member Max Goudy said he is uncomfortable with the idea of storing ammonia on site. Kennedy said any ammonia spill would be contained to the Sithe property and have no health risk to the general public.

According to the article, the Massachusetts Energy Facility Siting Board will decide whether to let Sithe build their plant on the property. The secretary of environmental affairs is reviewing the environmental impact statement. Sithe officials say if they gain all the needed permits, they hope to begin demolition of the 73-year-old Edgar Station this summer.

NPC Noise News
NPC Home

Previous week: March 21, 1999
Next week: April 4, 1999



Aircraft Noise
Amplified Noise
Effects on Wildlife/Animals
Construction Noise
Firing Ranges
Health Effects
Home Equipment and Appliances
International News
Environmental Justice
Land Use and Noise
Civil Liberty Issues
Miscellaneous Noise Stories
Noise Ordinances
Noise Organizations Mentioned
Outdoor Events
Noise in Our National Parks/Natural Areas
Residential and Community Noise
Snowmobile and ATV Noise
Research and Studies
Technological Solutions to Noise
Transportation Related Noise
Violence and Noise
Watercraft Noise
Workplace Noise

Chronological Index
Geographical Index

NPC Menu Bar NPC Home Page Ask NPC Support NPC Search the NPC Home Page NPC QuietNet NPC Resources NPC Hearing Loss and Occupational Noise Library NPC Noise News NPC Law Library NPC Library