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Turbine sound studies coming soon in two Massachusetts towns

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Two small wind farm projects in southeastern Massachusetts that have stirred neighbor complaints about noise over the past several months will be tested for compliance with state noise limits.  Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) rules require that noise sources increase existing noise levels by no more than 10dB.  This summer, one of the turbines in nearby Falmouth was found to sometimes exceed that difference at night, and was temporarily shut down except for some daytime sound testing periods. Both Falmouth turbines remain off at night, and are now operating during the day.

In Kingston, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (CEC) will oversee the sounds tests, and in Fairhaven, where over a hundred residents have filed health complaints, the Massachusetts DEP has begun to conduct the tests, as they did in Falmouth. Laurel Carlson of the MassDEP has said she does not expect to find a noise violation in Fairhaven, where existing background sounds should be higher.  “In the middle of the night it was 29 decibels (in Falmouth) — we call that national park quiet,” she said. “We’re not expecting to find that level of quiet in Fairhaven or any other community.”

UPDATE, 8/10/12:  Good piece in the Boston Globe today recapping the latest noise monitoring developments.

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