Hansen, C.H. Comments: SA EPA Waterloo Wind Farm Environmental Noise Study 2013
Emeritus Professor Colin Hansen
The following document is an analysis of the recent “Waterloo Wind Farm Environmental Noise Study” conducted by the South Australian Environmental Protection Agency (SA EPA). Overall, the report is well-written and reflects awareness of current international guidelines on low frequency noise and infrasound. The use of specialised low frequency microphones and multi-layered windshields (in some cases) indicates that attempts have been made to ensure that the infrasound and low frequency noise is measured as accurately as possible. The inclusion of local weather station data, indoor measurement data and noise diary entries shows that there has also been an attempt to surpass the baseline requirements of the EPA guidelines. Finally, the large amount of information in the report has been succinctly summarised in tables and figures.
On the other hand, the EPA found “no evidence linking the noise from the wind farm to adverse impacts on residents” and there are several reasons why this conclusion may have been reached erroneously. These include certain limitations of the current guidelines as well as aspects of the study that could have been improved. In some cases, interpretation of the data has led to generalisations that are not well backed up by the supporting figures.
It is clear that the study undertaken by the EPA was comprehensive and complex. There are many ways of analysing and interpreting the data and the comments below are intended only to indicate the areas where I believe the analysis and interpretation could be improved. The intention of my comments is to offer alternative interpretations of the data that I believe are valid and that no not result in the same conclusion of “no significant noise impact” that was reached by the EPA