Background: The introduction of industrial wind turbines into quiet rural en-vironments in Ontario, Canada has resulted in complaints about environmental noise and adverse health effects. Ontario has a process whereby residents can report noise to government. Official government records of Incident Reports/Complaints submitted by residents living near operating wind turbine installations were obtained through a Freedom of Information request. This article presents an evaluation of this process while commenting on the significance of Incident Reports/Complaints. Methods: Government records of Incident Reports/Complaints were analysed. Peer reviewed publications, conference presentations, judicial proceedings, government resources, and other sources were evaluated and considered in context with the topic under discussion. Objectives: The purpose of this article is to present the role and significance of Incident Reports/Complaints and discuss the value of these when assessing outcomes related to the introduction of wind turbines into a quiet rural environment. Results: Government records document 4574 Incident Reports/Complaints received by Ontario’s hotline (2006- 2016). There was no ministry response to over 50% of more than 3000 submitted formal complaints (2006-2014). Another 30% were noted as “deferred” response. Only 1% of the reports received a priority response. Provincial Officers noted in summary reports that people were reporting health effects such as: headache, sleep deprivation, annoyance, and ringing or pressure sensation in the head and ears. Health effects were reported many times including those occurring among children. Discussion: In the case of wind power installations, Incident Reports/Complaints are an important source of information for evaluating outcomes of introducing a new noise source into a quiet rural environment and are a form of public health surveillance. These reports can highlight risks to a healthy community living environment, act as an early warning system, and aid in evaluation of government policy initiatives. They may also be used before legal tribunals in public or private actions.
Cite this paper
Krogh, C. M. , Wilson, E. J. and Harrington, M. E. (2019). Wind Turbine Incident/Complaint Reports in Ontario, Canada: A Review—Why Are They Important?. Open Access Library Journal, 6, e5200. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/oalib.1105200.
“This is a slow-moving disaster happening and something has to be done. It’s been seven months and it is imperative a health hazard investigation is done before anything else can be done. Get boots on the ground, collect and test the sediments and get it done.”
At a Water Wells First community meeting recently, the members continued to express their frustration with the government’s lack of action to make good on a Doug Ford promise to hold a full health hazard investigation into well contamination in the area of the North Kent Wind Farm in Chatham and Dover townships and dropping property values.
WWF spokesperson Jessica Brooks said frustration with the situation continues to rise.
“After our community meeting, Water Wells First members continue to be disappointed and frustrated with the lack of action by the provincial government in regards to a Health Hazard Investigation,” Brooks said in a release. “We are demanding that the government act in the best interest of the health and safety for the people of Chatham-Kent by identifying black shale as a pollutant in drinking water. Any testing done by the municipality will be inadequate and pointless until this health hazard investigation is launched.”
Brooks noted the closest WWF has come to hearing any news is the announcement about a review by the Ontario Medical Officer of Health of the work of the Ministry of the Environment did during the summer of 2017.
“This is a pointless investigation as the ministry was only using lab results collected by the polluter; the wind company,” Brooks added. “Concerned citizens are encouraged to write Premier Doug Ford, Minister of Infrastructure Monty McNaughton, Minister of the Environment Rod Phillips and Minister of Health Christine Elliott asking that they take our concerns for groundwater seriously and launch a Health Hazard Investigation.”
The sediment in the wells, now known to contain black shale, has never been collected by the MOE or the turbine company for testing. Black shale is known to contain toxic heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic, lead and uranium. What worries the residents is how much of the shale, if any, is safe to drink, as the particles found in the water range in size and the smallest cannot be filtered out.
Also of concern to WWF members is news that Dr. David Colby, the medical officer of health for Chatham-Kent, has submitted an abstract on Wind Turbines and Groundwater Contamination for presentation at a Wind Turbine Noise 2019 conference in June in Lisbon, Portugal.
Colby has publicly said the wind turbines aren’t responsible for the well contamination, and the sediment, while “aesthetically unpleasing,” is safe to drink. He, however, has not collected or tested the sediment in the contaminated wells.
Questions that WWF members have for Colby is what does his article report on, is he representing the municipality in his capacity as Medical Officer of Health and who is paying for his trip?
Brooks said she asked Colby for the article but was told it wasn’t completed as of yet.
Reduced property values are also a concern for residents near the wind farm projects. Brooks said those people who had their wells tested before construction of the turbines have applied to MPAC, the provincial corporation that assesses property values, for reassessment. The results have been reduced taxes due to well issues, and Brooks said even people in proximity to the wind farms have a lower assessment.
“We were told that is something that would never happen, but it has. Just being in proximity to a wind turbine devalues your property,” Brooks said. “And the number keeps going up. Just from the people who have talked to me about contamination, the unofficial count is 40 families, and that’s not counting the people out there who aren’t going to complain because they rent or they don’t want their property devalued….
“The dBA metric is, therefore, unsuited for evaluating airborne pressure waves occurring at frequencies below 800 Hz. Health effects that may be developing due to exposures at these lower frequencies cannot be properly studied if the dBA metric is being used to characterize acoustical environments.”
Acoustics and Biological Structures; By Mariana Alves-Pereira, Bruce Rapley, Huub Bakker & Rachel Summers.Submitted: August 7th 2018Reviewed: November 28th 2018Published: January 9th 2019 DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.82761
Within the context of noise-induced health effects, the impact of airborne acoustical phenomena on biological tissues, particularly within the lower frequency ranges, is very poorly understood. Although the human body is a viscoelastic-composite material, it is generally modeled as Hooke elastic. This implies that acoustical coupling is considered to be nonexistent at acoustical frequencies outside of the human auditory threshold. Researching the acoustical properties of mammalian tissue raises many problems. When tissue samples are investigated as to their pure mechanical properties, stimuli are not usually in the form of airborne pressure waves. Moreover, since the response of biological tissue is dependent on frequency, amplitude, and time profile, precision laboratory equipment and relevant physiological endpoints are mandatory requirements that are oftentimes difficult to achieve. Drawing upon the viscoelastic nature of biological tissue and the tensegrity model of cellular architecture, this chapter will visit what is known to date on the biological response to a variety of different acoustic stimuli at very low frequencies.
low frequency noise
Open access. Each download brings research to wider audience.
Infrasound occurs where large masses are in motion. This happens in nature – with avalanches and earthquakes, for instance. But infrasound also arises through technology and industry. It’s caused by large machines and blasting. Even wind turbines …
My name is Ruby Mekker. I am not one of your constituents but today I read a letter written by one of your constituents, Barb Ashbee in 2009. It is attached and I encourage you to read it.
The very sad outcome is that nothing has changed since 2009.
Sylvia, the PC Party of Ontario repealed the Green Energy Act Dec 3, 2018 and the same day introduced ERO 013-4265 (as well as two others). This proposed regulation will grandfather ALL “in-process” and “existing” wind projects under the old Green Energy Act. This is NOT what the PC Party promised the people of Ontario. What is described in Barb’s letter is still occurring in YOUR riding; nothing has been done to help these people. Approving ERO 013-4265 will condemn these people to the “hell” they have been living as described in 2009. When did democracy die in Ontario? We believed the new majority PC Party would keep their promises still posted on their web site. To date any actions of the PC Party towards people living with industrial wind turbines have been nonexistent.
Yes, we acknowledge the PC party did cancel many “green” projects but chose not to cancel the pre construction Nation Rise Wind project in North Stormont (only 1 of 2 LRPI projects not cancelled even though this project had its key milestones approved by IESO hours before the writ was dropped). Presently, we the constituents are demonstrating to Ministers Rickford and Phillips how and why this project must be cancelled. If allowed to proceed the majority PC Government of Ontario will have allowed another part of Ontario to be put in jeopardy; Nation Rise Wind project is located on recognized highly vulnerable aquifers, the West Quebec Seismic Fault, vibration sensitive Leda clay; all of which the proponent did not report to the Ministry of Environment. Need I go on….
Sylvia it is time that like Tod Smith, you, Lisa Thompson, Monte, Bill Walker, Sam Oosterhoff, Rick Nicholls, Randy Hilliard, Toby Barrett do what you asked the Liberals to do in Lisa’s 2012 Private Member’s Bil, in Sam Oosterhoff’s 2017 Private Member’s Bill AND in the 2018 campaign; stand up for YOUR constituents; do your fiduciary duty; DO NOT allow ERO 013-4265, address the issues. As Monte so eloquently said in 2012,”I believe in democracy. I believe in giving a voice to rural Ontario.” Monte, too, has let his constituents down.
Ruby and Joe Mekker
Former residents of Smithville, Ontario
Open Letter – Barb Ashbee, November 2009
No one asked for this. Nobody looked to have their life and homes exposed in the news, trying to explain how the most promising form of renewable energy was causing such destruction of their family.
Sleep deprivation, headaches, migraines, heart palpitations, tinnitus, pressure in the ears, sores that won’t heal, dangerously high blood pressure and the list goes on. This was not the plan that any of these quiet and unassuming rural families had in mind, but this is what they got. And countless months later it continues. Nobody wanted to get sick; nobody wanted to be forced to leave their home, the place they raised their children, the place they intended to live out their retirement. Not one of them asked for this. In almost all cases, these symptoms were non-existent before the start up of the wind farm.
And when it was discovered these wonderful, planet saving industrial machines were actually hurting them and their family, not one of them would anticipate there would be no help for them.
As they read in the papers how our government was running to help other citizens who found themselves in all manner of troubling circumstances through no fault of their own, there they sat, waiting, ignored and ridiculed for admitting they needed help against the giant industry that the government had hyper-promoted in their ambitious scheme to ’save the planet’.
Who are these people, the green supporters cry out? NIMBY’S! They’re trying to stop our efforts to help the world! NIMBY’S! They don’t like change! They don’t want them in their backyard! Sorry, but nothing could be further from the truth. As a matter of fact, the vast majority welcomed wind farms as much as anyone. Some even boasted how proud they would be to participate at such close hand, to be able to help make a difference, to assist in providing clean, renewable energy.
But when the troubles started, the government looked the other way. When the troubles started, the government ran the other way, fingers in ears, la la la. There was no time for anyone or anything to stop this magnificent much needed multi-million, make that billion, dollar program and so they chose to ignore and abandon those who asked for help. They simply did not respond. As a matter of fact, some of the residents were subjected to blatant derision from their MPP. The people asked their local town council for help. They asked the Ministry of the Environment for help. They asked the Public Health Unit for help. They asked the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure for help. They even asked the Premier of Ontario directly for help. Nothing happened. No one responded. No sir, what they got from the Premier of Ontario was a loud and strong message that he was not going to let any NIMBY’s slow down his cause.
Thrown into the already brewing mess was the Green Energy Act. Sounding like a wonderful piece of legislation that would help this province and in turn, the country achieve the desired energy saving goals, it turned out to be a complete removal of rights for Ontarians; the complete dismantling of democracy in one piece of legislation. What most people didn’t know or pay attention to, was what the Premier and his two Ministers were trying to push through at lightning speed would affect everyone, not just the rural residents. And oh, how it does!
And so the letters flowed and the meetings started; ministry workshop meetings, presentations at the legislature’s standing committee hearings, public input at the local government held meetings, written submissions to the Green Energy Act Registry. Thousands of letters, documents and studies by a bevy of very astute and credible professional engineers, doctors, health professionals, lawyers, electrical engineers, professors, all manner of Ontarians with and without degrees, from all walks of life and, of course, the residents who were already being affected, already sick and getting sicker by the terribly close proximity of the wind turbines and electrical groundwork. All of these people at a grassroots level, taking no money for their time or for their obvious expense of preparing and printing papers and running around the province to government meetings and rural town hall meetings. All of these people doing the research that the government should have done before they started down this road, showing what a miserable failure simple lack of planning creates. All of these people trying to inform the government of the very serious issues with the wind farms.
Yet in the space of maybe 45 days or so, since the last submission date to the Green Energy Act Registry, designed for public input and reaping some 1300 submissions alone, this government said they had seen enough. They’d had enough time to look through all of the information submitted; the very complex engineering reports, noise studies, the reams of information on health effects, turbine failure, viability of wind as an energy source and the safe requirements for setbacks that would keep all citizens out of harms way. They repeatedly refused all requests by health professionals requesting the government slow down and conduct a proper independent health study to determine the health effects. They had also heard the victim statements, pleading with the government for help, to please listen to them, warning them to not put anymore people in the position that they found themselves in, through no fault of their own. It all fell on deaf ears.
There was no way that these Ministers were going to slow down. No matter how many people tried to warn them, they were not going to let anyone stop them in their plan to spread their wind turbines far and wide across every rural inch of the province and ringing the Great Lakes shorelines. No sir, they were going full speed ahead.
They took away the rights of all citizens of Ontario. All citizens, not just some. They overruled the professional planners who understand and know the ramifications of setbacks and public space planning so that they have no say in the municipality anymore. They overruled the town councils and Mayors who have no say in their own backyards anymore, the place they know much more intimately than any Minister, or developer.
They overruled everyone and everything. No one has ever seen the likes or speed of a piece of legislation like this before.
They ignore all of the facts brought before them, ignore and abandon the over 100 known victims, some of whom spend their days in restaurants trying to escape the conditions, who sleep in their cars with winter coming, who are billeted in a single room in a motel with children and more on the way, paid for by the wind developer. People with children, the children not knowing or caring about politics or landscape sightlines, but who bang on their ears with their fists asking Mommy to stop the noise, and young children who now complain of headaches. People with a new need for prescription sleeping pills and people who have lost everything. They’ve lost their livestock, their horses, their income, their way of life and the right to live in their own house. Children have had to move away. They live with relatives; they live by the goodness and grace of understanding strangers who offer them a place to stay. But in even larger numbers than these, are the ones trying desperately to stay in their own home, where everything they have is in and around them. Over 100 and growing. And so, at the end of the day what does the government do? They announce the same inadequate setbacks that they had previously spouted way back at the beginning of the year. Nothing had changed. It appears their minds were made up a long time ago. What a waste of taxpayers money.
The whole industry is contaminated with non-disclosure contracts right from the start. When the landowners agree to host, after being assured of all the good things they are doing, they sign contracts. These are variously worded contracts that do not allow them to speak out about anything negative to do with the wind turbines and will entitle the developer to make any amount of noise, vibration or do what they need to on their land and the landowner may not complain. Some are embarrassed at being taken in by the salesmen. They had no idea it would be such an intrusion, but the money sounded sweet. I wonder how many other businesses there are that match the need for non-disclosure clauses being made with ordinary, everday citizens while receiving full government support. Why such secrecy if this is such a noble exercise?
Many landowners with multiple turbines don’t live on their property. These are some of the ones who will say there are no problems and argue strongly to push ahead. Some have rented out their farmhouses cheap. The renters sleep with oscillating fans going all night long by their heads to try to cut out the thumping sound of the wind turbines clearly heard in their bedrooms. Many wear earplugs but they don’t always work.
People ask, why aren’t more people speaking up, why don’t we hear more? Would you speak up knowing that if and when you needed to get out you wouldn’t be able to sell your house? Who would buy it? It’s not an easy position for any of them to be put in, nor do they want to jeopardize the hopes that the developer will help them, or the possible lashback by fervent green supporters in their community who are so careless with their words and judgment. Many are under contract and cannot speak. Some don’t have the courage or the life skills to know who to even contact. This is all new to them; it’s all new to everyone, even our leaders.
So what about Europe people ask? Aren’t they all happy with their wind farms over there? No, they’re not. In fact there are over 360 grass roots coalitions in 19 European countries in exactly the same position as our residents, pleading to be listened to. They are trying to work with their governments on greater setbacks to protect the residents. As industrial wind turbines get bigger and bigger (40 storeys), some countries leaders have listened and have changed their setbacks to 1.5 kms and further. They acknowledge the problems,and they obviously care about the consequences. These symptoms and problems are mirrored all over the world. Next door in the U.S, Australia, Japan…..
No one can believe our government would completely ignore residents like this, especially the residents themselves. Surely there must be something wrong with these people if the government isn’t listening or taking action. Nope, in fact there is nothing wrong with these residents. These are all good people; honest people, the backbone of this country. Something wrong you ask? Perhaps you should be looking to the provincial government and their brazen, no questions asked backing and protection of the wind industry.
$omething i$ very wrong indeed. ~B. Ashbee
Mothers Against Wind Turbines was founded by mothers whose children have a range of disabilities most which fall into the Autistic Spectrum. Our children struggle with everyday exposures to light, sound, and movement naming a few, among many challenges. Many of our families have purposely chosen to live in quiet rural areas to provide our children the best environment to grow and thrive so they can achieve their best potential in life.
With the installation of wind powered generation facilities adjacent to our homes and in our communities we are faced with the unrelenting intrusion and trespass by industrial wind turbines and its associated infrastructures discharging light, noise, movement, electrical emissions into the most intimate of places that should be one of security, peace and our children’s sanctuary.
The following article talks about research of noise impacting living spaces and what that means for vulnerable populations such as those with autism, the elderly or those who are noise sensitive.
“Perceptual comfort means that the acoustics falls in ranges that people consider comfortable, clear, pleasant,”
In 2019, consider experiencing deep quiet outdoors. … this article overstates interior sound levels (“probably about 30 dBA”) … interior levels (absent hvac) are typically below 20 dBA …30 dBA is used as a regulatory indoors noise limit in Vermont. https://t.co/AcntfGGiuV
Take a moment and think about the quietest room you’ve ever laid down in; the quietest, stillest place you’ve ever been. No matter how peaceful, how serene, there was still some sound: the rush of water in pipes, the hum of electricity in the walls, the breeze gently blowing, insects chirping; the ambient noise of nature, of life.
If you take a 15-minute car ride from downtown Minneapolis, you’ll find a nondescript concrete building with ivy climbing its exterior walls. Orfield Laboratories sits a block away from a bowling alley called Memory Lanes and directly across the street from Skol Liquors. Inside Orfield Laboratories is an anechoic chamber that has been certified by Guinness as the quietest place in the world.
That still bedroom you were in? The ambient noise was probably about 30 dBA, or A-weighted decibels — the relative loudness of sound perceived by the human ear. This is a logarithmic scale, so every 10 dBA, you’re either doubling or halving the loudness or quietness. At zero dBA, the human ear can no longer perceive sound. The anechoic chamber at Orfield Laboratories was certified by Guinness at -9.4 dBA in 2004 and -13 dBA in 2013, both for one hour measurements. But over shorter periods, they’ve conducted tests on the chamber that have given readings of up to between negative 22 and negative 23 dBA.
That’s just in terms of what instruments can read in the room. The human ear has no way of telling that difference in sound (or lack thereof). If a room or chamber is 0 dBA or lower, you won’t hear anything. Nothing at all. The difference between -9.4 dBA and -23 dBA sounds the same to our pitiful flesh-ears. But it made a difference to me. I wanted to be in the quietest room on Earth…..
Orfield Laboratories primarily works in architecture, product development and in office research. They’re attempting to make living and working conditions better for everyone, with a specific focus on the elderly, people with disabilities, and people who are on the autistic spectrum. Not to put too fine a point on it, but their research is crucial in our busy world.
While Poland has the privilege of having virtually all of its energy resources on its own soil, it plans an ambitious program to drastically reduce the share of coal to 60% of the electricity mix in 2030 and 30 % by 2040, instead of 80% currently.
The project plans to increase electricity consumption from 165 TWh in 2018 to 232 TWh in 2040.
His presentation highlights the competitive nature of nuclear energy, whose competitiveness must be materialized by the commissioning of 6 additional nuclear power plants starting in 2033 with a new plant every 2 years .
In a forum , Energy Minister Krzysztof Tchorzzwski had mentioned the opportunity for the country, which already has 300 entities in this field, to develop highly qualified jobs.
This energy programming focuses on gas transiently, as well as on renewable energies such as geothermal energy and especially offshore wind and solar energy.
The graph below shows the program of evolution of their installed capacity, starting with a slight increase intended to support the role of the gas before the commissioning of the first nuclear power station. Then their rapid suppression until their near disappearance as early as 2040.
POWER OF TERRESTRIAL WIND POWER PLANTS IN POLAND (in MW)
In an August 2016 opinion , translated into French by “Le Mont Champot”, the Polish Public Health Institute (NIZP) called for a minimum distance between wind turbines and dwellings of 2 km by considering “that wind farms located too close to buildings intended for permanent human habitation are likely to have a negative impact on the well-being and health of people living nearby. “
This opinion mentions in particular the need for a precautionary distance between “1.5-3.0 km, based on the sound level, taking into account the modulation, the low frequencies and the infrasound levels” .
Polish scientists are also not left out on this subject, particularly through studies on the physiological effects of exposure to wind turbines on goose farms and another on pigs , depending on the distance between them. machines and their place of breeding.
But the Polish energy policy by 2040 therefore plans to be more protective.
At the opening of COP 24, its president, Michal Kurtyka, imposed a social justice component calling on all participants to sign the ” Silesia Declaration for a Just and Inclusive Transition “, in order to avoid this transition. ecological can be the place of business for some and the burden for others.
By proposing the end of onshore wind turbines, this draft program also recalls that no economic or political objective should prevail over the well-being and health of individuals.
A new paper has just been published. It is open access.
Krogh, C. M. , Dumbrille, A. , McMurtry, R. Y. , James, R. , Rand, R. W. , Nissenbaum, M. A. , Aramini, J. J. and Ambrose, S. E. (2018). Health Canada’s Wind Turbine Noise and Health Study—A Review Exploring Research Challenges, Methods, Limitations and Uncertainties of Some of the Findings. Open Access Library Journal, 5, e5046. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/oalib.1105046
We are compiling a bundle of 1-page victim impact statements to assist the Premier of Ontario and top PC Ministers in understanding the direct impacts wind turbines are having on our lives with the hope of finding some acknowledgement and relief.
The amount of information that has been sent into the government in the last decade is enormous but we don’t know how much of it survived Liberal government handling.
We are asking, just one more time, for as many as possible to take part in this effort.
We’ve worked to put a one-page-per-person statement together with a place for a photograph of you/ family/pets/; whatever you think will give your statement the most personal touch. Each household can fill out one for all OR each household can fill out one for each person. There are no age boundaries for this one either.
You can fill in the page, attach to an email and send to Barb Ashbee at email@example.com Send the photo as well please and we will attach it to your page.
you can fill in the one-page statement, attach your photo
print off,hand write your responses, attach photo and mail to:
354177 Osprey Artemesia
R.R.4 Flesherton, Ont. N0C 1E0
Please respond by Nov. 24th, 2018 ~ (*late entries will still be accepted)
If you need any help with doing your statement, please don’t hesitate to call or email.
One more important thing to do if you are able is to actually list who you have met with by name ie: MPP-name, MP- name, Ministers or Ministry critics, Environmental Commissioner, bureaucrats,Field Officers, office managers, Public Health units/contacts, Medical Officers of Health, Ombudsman and etc. A separate page has been put together for you to fill out with the information.