“Turbine torture” (Massachusetts)
Sep 29, 2010
“The garden that was a sanctuary to me for 30 years is now more like a torture chamber. When the turbine first went into operation in March 2010, and then through April, I tried to acclimate myself to live with this thing. . . . The noise these turbines make is unlike regular noise. It is not the loudness of the noise but a characteristic to it that gets in your head and becomes entrenched.
“At least two persons have thought of suicide while this issue drags on through the creep of political process.”
—Barry Funfar (9/28/10)
I am an abutter to what the Town of Falmouth, Massachusetts, calls their WIND 1—their first wind turbine, a 1.65MW Vestas 400 foot tall goliath. Since it went into operation in early 2010, quite a number of us abutters have suffered serious medical detriments and a gigantic loss of quality of our lives from the noise impact of this machine.
My own home is 1662 feet from the turbine, and the effects of the sound on me have caused
- sleep deprivation
- blurred vision
- upset stomach
These ailments are well documented by my medical providers.
After my writing letters and speaking with many town and state government officials (including the local health officer, State Health Commissioner, and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection—wrecking agency—several times each over many months), my State Representative, Tim Madden recently secured the information that a first step is for the town to complete a noise study of the turbine’s impact on the surrounding area and furnish that to the State Dept. of Environmental Protection. (If someone had told me this in the beginning, it would have saved me a tremendous amount of frustration in attempting to communicate with my local and state officials.)
The noise study is now complete, and, wouldn’t you know it, the turbine passed by a squeak the 10 dB increase in ambient Mass. noise regulation, and (except for a couple of locations under certain modeled conditions) the town’s windmill bylaw of 40 dB. The Massachusetts noise regulation is from Sept 1, 1972 and the town’s windmill bylaw is even older.
Giant wind turbines such as Falmouth’s were not even close to being invented then. The noise these turbines make is unlike regular noise. It is not the loudness of the noise but a characteristic to it that gets in your head and becomes entrenched. The sound can go on for days, or it can be absent, or it can be intermittent. When it is not there, one listens for it and is fearful of its return.
The garden that was a sanctuary to me for 30 years is now more like a torture chamber. Some of the abutters have started using the term “turbine torture.” When the turbine first went into operation in March 2010, and then through April, I tried to acclimate myself to live with this thing.
After dropping into a three-month depression, I finally avoided my own home for the month of August—and pulled out of the depression. I returned on Labor Day weekend to find that after ten minutes of hearing the turbine, my anxiety and panic condition were returning. At least two persons have thought of suicide while this issue drags on through the creep of political process.
At the end of the sound study presentation meeting today, Assistant Town Manager and leader/chair/whatever, Heather Harper, of the wind turbine project suggested we have a follow up meeting in 45 days. One abutter asked what we are to do to cope with the turbine noise from one delay with the town to another. Ms. Harper had no answer for that, but the abutter’s attorney did counter with a suggestion of 30 days.
It all comes down to setbacks. Proper setbacks of at least one mile to homes. As the turbines get bigger the setbacks will need to grow.
Anyone out there whose town or neighbor is proposing a wind turbine, I recommend for you to do your homework now before the machine is up and running, and you begin to plan to sell your home. I have been told, by the way, that if you are trying to sell and a turbine is visible from your home, your potential buyer list will drop by 50%.
One last comment—and I had no intention of plugging her book here—but Dr. Nina Pierpont’s book, “Wind Turbine Syndrome,” is a good place to start your research. She has taken a lot of flak from the Big Wind industry—but where are their studies of turbine-induced illness? Even worse, our own government has not studied the problem even as it continues to subsidize Big Wind to the hilt.
Wind developers and government appear to be in bed together under the sheets of a green mania.