Noise Pollution, Environmental, Living, and Property Value Impacts

Noise can be a form of pollution.

Mining is a noise violator if near homes Noise is not just the problem with little children, or with teenagers honking or racing autos. Noise has been defined as an issue of health and safety by the U.S. Government since the 1970's.

Millions of Americans now have some legal protections, in the workplace, and in their living standards, from those who would create noise that can harm health and disturb the peace.

Note the table below with research gleaned from the EPA and Noise engineeers. See table (from EPA and other sources)


Mining noise. The ambient sound from a coal or gravel mine is normally 54 to 69 dBA, but as trucks, and equipment begin moving the sound will increase to 80 or 80 dBA. This can create a disturbance for human or animal populations within a 2 mile radius of such facilities.

Power plants show an ambient sound of 49 to 71, but increase with production, and with equipment traffic to 80-90 dBA. Yet wind turbines in a similar setting will produce electrical power at a high sound range of 58 dBA.

A school in West Texas installed several wind turbines, but the turbines were of a variety on "lattace" metal poles, that cause noise and vibration. In the case of these turbines on "lattace" towers, the sound was in a 60 to 70 dBA level, much higher than turbines of equal power, but on mono poles that do not vibrate or rattle.

A question arises, "When is noise irritating, and when is noise harmful to health?" In general the EPA standard passed in the 1970's was that safe and harmless sound was below 58 dBA. Irritating sound could be lower, but sound levels higher than 60 could be considered a disturbance of the peace.

Legal opinions suggest that a person deserves safety in the workplace. Legal opinions also suggest that homeowners deserve the "peaceful enjoyment" of their property. Those facilities and institutions that generate sounds in excess of 60 dBA.

An excellent example of a violation of sound peace is a resort community in the mountains of New Mexico. This "golf course" community is loaded with 250 resort homes, built by people for their "vacation" homes to enjoy the cool, peaceful mountain environment. The resort community in it's wisdom, decided to create a gravel mine, to use for road maintanance. They did not consider that the sound levels would have the following impacts:

  1. Lowering of property appeal and property values
  2. Destruction of the forests that people go there to enjoy
  3. Creation of a noisy industrial sound base through the forest making the location of vacation resorts hellish because of noise