Waterloo Wind Farm, Environmental Noise Study, SA EPA
The South Australian EPA conducted an environmental noise study for two months which concluded in mid 2013. This report was issued in late 2013. The Waubra Foundation has significant concerns about the integrity of this acoustic survey and its findings.
According to the SA EPA, their study has been peer reviewed, but the SA EPA are refusing to release the peer review, or name the officials from the NSW EPA who conducted the peer review.
The Waubra Foundation has asked independent acousticians to independently review the data and the conclusions drawn by the SA EPA. Steven Cooper and Professor Colin Hansen were two acousticians who were collecting data independently of the SA EPA at the time of the survey. Preliminary analysis of some of Mr Steven Cooper’s data at one location shows a difference of up to 10 dBA between the measurements taken by the SA EPA and Mr Cooper.
Significant concerns have been raised publicly about the conduct of the acoustic monitoring during this acoustic survey which in three instances contravened the SA EPA’s own wind farm noise guidelines with two of the monitors being placed underneath large trees (the guidelines specify that the acoustic monitors should be more than 30 metres away from vegetation) and the other acoustic monitoring was conducted in the backyard of a home in Waterloo township where the microphone was within 5 metres of reflective surfaces. This will have the effect of significantly increasing the background noise, and could explain why the environs of the Waterloo wind development now reveal a “much noisier” rural environment.
Other concerns about this report include the way the South Australian EPA have used the figure of 85 dBG as being a “safe” threshold for infrasound exposure, when the large US government research project led by Dr Neil Kelley established the “safe” infrasound and low frequency noise chronic exposure thresholds to be much lower, in 1985.
Download critiques of the methodology & conclusions of the report by Dr Paul Schomer, Dr George Hessler & Dr Bruce Walker
In August 2014, Professor Colin Hansen’s team released their report of their own acoustic survey at Waterloo, concurrently with the SA EPA Waterloo Noise study.