Updated: Thursday, 02 Dec 2010, 2:56 PM EST
Published : Wednesday, 17 Nov 2010, 5:25 PM EST
LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Proposed wind farms in Tippecanoe County have some upset and worried about the noise caused by wind turbines.
According to audiologists, new information is coming to light about exposure to wind turbine noise. It shows the turbines may be ruining quiet rural living for some. Julie Peretin said she has delayed moving her young family into a home that would situate them in the shadow of a future Tippecanoe County wind farm.
"The largest issue is the sleep disturbance. The sound level. Particularly with the proposed amendment which would allow the wind turbines to be run at 50 decibels day or night. Usually in the rural country the levels during the day may be 40, 30. But at night they are down below 25," said Peretin.
Peretin's father, Jim Peritz, said he also lives in the area and has concerns about the possible change in sound level.
"The noise in particular here that causes problems typically is at night, when the wind is quiet at the ground level, and noisy up above, where the wind turbine will generate maximum noise," said Peritz.
According to audiologist Susan Lopez, Peretin and Peritz may not be too far off with their concerns.
"It's a pretty significant (sound) change, especially if you're used to having it be quiet. And than you have this constant noise level. Especially this low frequency energy level. It's not something you can necessarily hear, but you can feel," said Lopez.
Lopez said for some the hum and whirl of wind turbines generate more than just wind energy. She said some have even reported physical symptoms of discomfort from the low frequency sound waves.
"There's sort of a group of symptoms associated with wind turbine noise... lack of sleep, feelings of anger, those are the main ones. Feeling stressed," said Lopez.
Lopez said there are no cases of long-term damage from wind turbine noise, and she doesn't believe that will be a problem. A.J. Booher houses wind turbines on his family's farmland in White County, and is looking to place more on his land in Tippecanoe County. Booher said he hasn't had any issues with the sound.
"The sound, I mean obviously it puts out a small sound, but we're standing right next to one right now and it sounds like a hair-dryer behind me. The cars on U.S. 231 make more noise than the wind turbine behind me," said Booher.
Booher said he invites any one concerned with the noise levels to come visit the turbines in White County, like he and his family did, to see for themselves the amount of noise they generate.
County commissioners recently came under fire for proposing to raise the sound ordinance around the future site of the Tippecanoe County wind farm, 45 to 50 decibels. Lopez said 50 decibels of sound is the same level as a soft conversation.