Living Near Wind Turbines – Personal Account from Massachussets Residents
HANCOCK MA – The Berkshire Wind project consists of ten 1.5 MW wind turbines on Brodie Mountain in northwestern Massachusetts.
Sherman Derby, Hancock, MA — Lives about ½ mile from the nearest turbine.
Mr. Derby is a member of the Select Board. “You wake up sometimes at two in the morning and it sounds a jet plane. When they said it would be no louder than a vacuum cleaner, that may be but if your wife starts vacuuming next to your bed in the middle of the night, you’ll notice. It’s a heck of a roar. We’re up a lot of times because of the noise, we just can’t sleep.”
FAIRHAVEN MA – Two 1.5 MW wind turbines began operation on May 5, 2012. One month later, 130 complaints have been registered with the town.
John Methia, Fairhaven, MA – Lives 2,000’ from the nearest turbine.
“I live 2,000 feet away from the turbines. The sound is quite disturbing. The sound is like a jet flyover that doesn’t stop. We hoped for the best when the turbines were erected and now we fear the worst.”
Karen Isherwood, Fairhaven, MA – Lives less than 1,500’ from the nearest turbine.
“I welcomed the developer to my home and he said everything would be fine. He lied to me. It is not just the noise volume, the sound can go anywhere from a whoosh whoosh to a traffic level to an airport. I would never purchase a home near an airport, but that’s what I’ve got here with the turbines. I am desperately calling out for help because I have medical issues that have been exacerbated by the noise. If I don’t get help I will have to abandon my home.”
Louise Barteau, Fairhaven, MA – Worked 1,400’ from the nearest turbine.
“Last September, I rented a teaching studio space without any prior knowledge of the imminent construction of two 400-foot wind turbines approximately 1,200 feet away, which were constructed over the winter. I have already experienced feelings of pressure behind my eyes, confusion, and nausea in the studio. I asked the landlord to let me out of my lease early, and moved out this week rather than expose myself to further symptoms.
KINGSTON MA – There are four new 2 MW wind turbines: three known as the O’Donnell turbines, and one called Independence located near Route 3.
Doreen Reilly, Kingston, MA – Lives 900’ from the nearest turbine.
“The Independence turbine has been disrupting our sleep and also causing annoyance when going about our daily lives. In the past week alone there were two nights that were unbearable to sleep. The health of my family is at risk from not sleeping at night due to the noise from the turbine. My children are losing sleep. We are all being affected from lack of sleep when the wind is blowing west or northeast.
”I love my town, home and my neighborhood. I am very disappointed in the Town of Kingston for allowing this land to be leased to a developer to site this turbine. I want to stay at my home that I have lived at for 19 years and have never had issues sleeping!”
Tim Dwyer, Kingston, MA — Lives 1,600’ from the nearest turbine.
“Since the Kingston turbines have become operational, I have personally held conversations with local residents from multiple neighborhoods that have experienced symptoms including headaches, sleep disturbance, tinnitus, ear pressure and vertigo.
“Because the Kingston turbines were constructed with an unprecedented lack of public notice or involvement, these residents were completely unaware that their sudden and unexplained symptoms could result from living in close proximity to industrial wind turbines. I’m hopeful that the town of Kingston will follow the lead of other similarly impacted communities, and establish a method of surveying its residents to determine the true extent of the problem.”
FALMOUTH MA – Wind 1 and Wind 2 are two 1.65 MW town-owned wind turbines; there is also a privately-owned wind turbine known as Webb-Notus which is 1.65 MW, and a 600 kW wind turbine at Woods Hole Research Center.
Neil Andersen, Falmouth, MA – Lives 1/4 mile from the nearest turbine.
“No human being can live with the torturous, low frequency pressure pulses that are emitted by the blades of the turbine. These repetitive pulses cause headaches, unusual head and ear pressure, ringing in the ears, heart palpitations, increased blood pressure, and loss of sleep, to name just a few of the physical ailments that my family has suffered as a direct result of living too close to the turbine. The psychological effects have us on maximum doses of anti-depressants, relying on sleeping pills in an attempt to get some sleep. We have been almost completely wiped out financially, having been forced to close my homebuilding business during the fall of 2010. Lawyers and doctors fees, as well as money involved with the costs of being forced away from our home when the turbine is particularly bad, continue to dissolve our life and retirement funds. Initial complaints to the Board of Health, the Building Commissioner, the local police, the State Police, State Representatives, the Attorney Generals office, all went without any action. I even attempted to file a criminal assault and battery charge against the turbine!”
John Ford, Falmouth, MA – Lives 2,300’ from the nearest turbine.
“I cannot enjoy my garden. I cannot enjoy relaxing in my yard reading, walking or simply living. I cannot sleep without being interrupted by the thumping and swooshing of the turbine blades. This pulsating assault has taken its toll. While prior to the wind turbine installations I had the luxury of excellent health, I am currently depressed as well as fatigued and now deal with high blood pressure and an elevated level of triglycerides.
“Headaches, earaches, anxiety, stress and anger are just some of the physical and mental maladies; waking at night with labored breathing and a pounding chest are common occurrences. Getting back to sleep is very difficult. Adding acoustical windows to my bedroom to eliminate the noise has not worked. Bouts of unannounced vertigo are experienced while at home. Interestingly, I do not experience these symptoms when I am away from the turbines.”
Barry Funfar, Falmouth, MA – Lives 1,558’ from the nearest turbine.
“My primary care physician advised me to move away from the turbines as soon as possible. She told me that I, with my PTSD, could not tolerate living close to a turbine, that I must move away from the noise. A number of my individual and group counselors have given the same advice. Since that time my condition has only gotten worse.
“The turbines sound to me like a rainforest full of giant munching caterpillars, or 500 enemy soldiers marching towards me but always being the same distance away, or a jet engine helicopter forever turning-up or shutting-down. These are all triggers to my PTSD.
“The gardens I tended for 33 years have now been neglected for over two years because of these turbines. With the noise of the turbines there is no concentration possible for anything else. I cannot safely go out into my own yard. At least four home businesses have been shuttered because of these turbines. My own included. What price must we pay to live peacefully in our own homes? At this stage my wife and I are avoiding Falmouth and our own home as much as possible. Our Town government has given us the taste of being second class citizens. It has changed our healthy home environment to a place we must avoid.”
Mary Zawoysky, Falmouth, MA – Lives 900’ from the nearest turbine.
“I live 900 feet from a Northwind 100 wind turbine and the effects on me are very similar to what I’ve been hearing from neighbors of the Falmouth Wind 1 and Notus 400-foot wind turbines. It’s the low frequency noise or infrasound that bombards my home so that I can’t sleep. I have never experienced anything like this and I grew up very near a dam, railroad tracks, and an airport so I am used to noise.”
Newburyport MA – A single 600 kW wind turbine operates at Mark Richey Woodworking.
Nan Cook, Newburyport, MA – Lives 1,000’ from the nearest turbine.
“We did not know the turbine would create a light show at night as the red FAA flashing light strobes up each 78 foot blade 13 or 23 times per minute as the blades rotate. We did not know that shadow flicker can occur at night with a full moon; that we hear it at night when the noise levels are quieter; and that it is not as quiet as a refrigerator.
“We found out that the sound doesn’t go away unless the wind stops. The vibration comes through the walls in some houses. Fog and unstable air seems to make the turbine sound louder. The noise bounces off the houses at odd angles and depends on the wind direction, so that one minute you hear it, the next you don’t. We have had ice build up, even with an insignificant 2 inch snow fall. This did not create blade imbalance, nor did the rotor did not shut down as documents published by experts clearly stated. It did, however, make the turbine sound louder. And lately we have learned that once a little wear occurs on the blade surfaces, and the lubrication oils thin, the sound increases.
“Contrary to the experts, this is not a ‘gentle whoosing sound’ nor does it sound like ‘a kid riding a wagon down the street.’ This sound is not masked by the wind, but can be heard distinctly over the wind at times.”
A Selection of Quotes from Articles and Letters in Massachusetts Newspapers.
Judy Whitman, Hancock, MA
In a letter dated November 22, 2011 to the Berkshire Eagle, Judy Whitman of Hancock wrote, “I had no strong objection at the onset but did worry about the scenery. Now that they have been in operation for almost a year, I have lots to tell you folks in south county. They do disturb the scenery and the quiet. If you live within a mile they are loud, sounding like a jet plane flying high overhead.”
Matt Weir, Hyannis, MA
On May 18, 2012, the Barnstable-Hyannis Patch quoted Matt Weir, a Hyannis resident who lives next to the wind turbine located at Country Gardens on West Main Street, as saying about the noise that keeps him awake every night, “I hear it day and night.”
Irean Schreiber, Nantucket, MA
According to the Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror, in an extensive article on wind turbine noise in its February 9, 2012 issue: “Across the street from Nantucket High School, just a few hundred feet away from the 100-kilowatt wind turbine installed in 2010, Irean Schreiber says she’s living in agony. She can’t sleep, and she complains of an accelerated heart rate, vertigo, dizziness and headaches.”