Acoustic Recording Quantitative Screening Measurement Report Prepared by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change

Address: 36726 Hawkins Road, Goderich, ON
Measurement Date: February 23 – March 1, 2017
Report Date: March 28, 2017

Executive Summary

As requested by the resident, on February 23, 2017, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) staff from the Owen Sound District Office installed a resident-activated sound monitoring device for the purpose of conducting acoustic screening measurements at a private residence located at 36726 Hawkins Road, Goderich (R868). The property is adjacent to the K2 Wind Farm. The measurement and analysis, were performed in accordance with Part C of the Ministry’s Compliance Protocol for Wind Turbine Noise (Noise Protocol), 2011.
During the measurement campaign, unattended measurements were conducted in addition to data regarding the sound level, weather and wind farm turbine operation between February 23 to March 1. In addition to the above, 10 minute audio recordings were also obtained. The audio recordings were initiated by the resident at times when the resident deemed the facility noise to be disturbing and when noise from the facility was not considered to be an issue.
Based on the results of the analysis, it is acknowledged that sound from the wind turbines was audible during the measuring campaign at levels that appear to exceed the applicable sound level limits, and based on C3 measurements conducted at a nearby receptor (the distance is about 1250 m from R876; where the same turbine(s) within 1500 m distance impact both receptors) it was further concluded that there is a possibility that sound from the nearby turbines could be tonal. To confirm compliance, it is recommended that a tonal audibility assessment and detailed noise audit be undertaken in accordance with Part D of the draft Compliance Protocol for Wind Turbines Noise, NPC 350, 2017.

1.0 Introduction

As requested by the resident, on February 23, 2017, the MOECC staff from the Owen Sound District Office installed a resident-activated sound monitoring device for the purpose of conducting acoustic screening measurements at a private residence located at 36726 Hawkins Road, Goderich (R868). The property is adjacent to the K2 Wind Farm, which consists of 140 turbines. The Renewable Energy Approval (REA) Number 3259-98EQ3G for the K2 wind facility was issued on July 23, 2013.
This report outlines the MOECC’s measurements, assessment results and recommendations .

2.0 Purpose

The purpose of the acoustic screening measurements is to indicate if the wind turbines and the transformers are audible and compare results against the applicable sound level limits contained in the Ministry’s Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms (2016 ) in order to determine if there is a reasonable indication that allowable sound level limits are being exceeded and would therefore warrant additional assessment.
The sound level limits for wind turbines are set relative to the existing MOECC Noise Guidelines in Publications NPC-205 and NPC232 as well as to a reference wind induced background sound level. This is consistent with the Ministry’s long-standing practice of establishing sound level limits at a point of reception that is representative of the background conditions and based on the principle of “predictable worst case” noise impact. The same requirement of complying with a sound level limit or a minimum background sound level, whichever is higher, has applied to the planning of industrial facilities across Ontario for the past 30 years.
Unlike most industrial noise sources, wind turbines require the presence of wind to operate, resulting in audible noise being generated by both the turbine and the wind at the same time. As a result, the background sound levels due to wind interaction with the ground, trees, buildings and objects together with any road vehicular traffic can become significant sources of noise.
Such levels of wind induced background noise at a receptor are routinely comparable and often exceed the sound levels from wind turbines alone in their approved setbacks.
The sound level limits at a receptor are given by the values in Table (1) or by the sound level limits established relative to the background, in accordance with requirements in Publication NPC-232.

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