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Noise monitoring equipment at WaterlooThe EPA recently undertook a project to investigate the concerns of the Waterloo community regarding noise from the Waterloo Wind Farm.

In particular, the EPA sought answers to four primary questions, maintaining a particular focus on infrasound and low frequency noise ─

  • Is there a physical basis for descriptions of noises supplied by members of the community?
  • Are there particular environmental conditions that evoke complaints?
  • Are low frequency and infrasound components present and do they contribute to these described effects and complaints?
  • Do the criteria in the current EPA Wind Farm Environmental Noise Guidelines (178.8 KB PDF) need to be reviewed?

The study was never intended to be a comprehensive survey of the noise environment around the Waterloo Wind Farm, or a health study. Proper evaluation of any health-based descriptions falls more within the purview of health authorities, and EPA intends to refer the information to relevant authorities as soon as practical.

The EPA conducted noise and meteorological monitoring in the region surrounding the Waterloo Wind Farm for approximately 10 weeks starting in April 2013. A community noise diary program was run over the same time period. Weekly summaries were posted on the website throughout the monitoring period:

Monitoring data and audio records | Summaries of noise diaries

The EPA has completed a comprehensive analysis of the information gathered. Further details about the study and the findings are available in the final report.

PDF downloads: Report (4.7 MB PDF) | Presentation (1.8 MB PDF)

The EPA conducted the monitoring and analysis utilising its own equipment, expertise and analytical capabilities, in order to maintain independence, as far as possible, from all parties.

The conclusions of the study may not be valid for other wind farms, and may only be valid for the Waterloo Wind Farm under the specific conditions (eg weather, wind farm operating conditions, etc) under which the study was undertaken. It also may not necessarily be valid for all residences potentially affected by noise emission from the Waterloo Wind Farm.

Acknowledgments

The project was undertaken with the participation of volunteers from the community and with the active support of the wind farm operators. EPA would like to thank all of the community volunteers and Energy Australia for their contributions.

We would also like to thank the New South Wales Environment Protection Authority (NSW EPA) who conducted a technical peer review of the methodology, data analysis and reporting and found the study to fundamentally be of a high technical standard. The peer review was advisory only, and the NSW EPA’s role should not be misconstrued as an audit of the study or indicate agreement or otherwise with all of the findings or conclusions in the report.

Contact

All queries, comments or requests for information to be directed to the EPA via email, tel (08) 8204 2004 or freecall 1800 623 445 (for non-metropolitan callers).

Last modified: 10/12/2014 03:33 pm

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