Monitor Your Health Near Wind Turbines

Sleep Summary 4-2 mile map

Monitor Your Health Near Existing Kahuku Wind Farm

The 2.5 MW Clipper turbine, currently in use at the Kahuku Wind Farm has been declared a public health hazard by a Wisconsin county where residents 4.2 miles away are adversely affected and low-frequency sound pulses are detected more than 6 miles away.  If you live within 6 miles of the Kahuku Wind Farm (Pipeline through Punaluu), it’s important for you to assess the extent to which the current smaller turbines are adversely affecting you.  And in preparation for the possible operation of the largest turbines on land in the US operating on Oahu, if you live anywhere on Oahu, it’s important for you to begin documenting your current health and quality of sleep.

There are already twelve 2.5 MW turbines 1,200 meters downwind from the town of Kahuku.  The Kahuku Wind Farm began testing wind turbines in January 2011, commercial operation began March 23, 2011.  On August 1, 2012, all but two of the turbines were shut down until February 13, 2014 after a fire burned the wind farm’s battery storage system.  Review your personal health records to look for initiation of ringing in your ears, headaches, high blood pressure, nausea, or psychological conditions during periods of operation of the 12 existing 2.5 MW wind turbines. 

Track the following on a scale of 0-5:

0 (no),

2 (slight – but does not cause any change in behavior or attitude),

3 (moderate – small changes in behavior or attitude, there is a perceived reduction in quality of life but productivity and activity are not affected),

4 (Substantial/Disruptive: The sensation causes a material change in behavior or attitude, reduced interest in getting up in the morning, changes in productivity or activity because of the sensation, changes in schedule including a few hours of sick leave),

5 (Severe/Physically Harmful): Significant changes in behavior, psychological stress or physiological effects – debilitating, taking the day off from work, children taking the day off from school),

Tired? (0, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Headache? (0, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Ringing in ears? (0, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Heart Palpitations? (0, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Pressure in ears/ears popping? (0, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Vertigo, dizziness, motion-sickness? (0, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Feeling of fullness or pressure in your head? (0, 2, 3, 4, 5)

 If you have children, the app asks the following additional questions:

Children Tired? (0, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Children’s behavior? (0, 2, 3, 4, 5)

 Other:__________ 0-5 (fill in the blank spot for people to add their own symptom to track)

Also note the following:

How Many Hours Were You In Bed, Trying to Sleep: 0-10?

Did you have difficulty falling asleep, getting back to sleep, or premature awakening? Yes/No

Did you leave your home or workplace to seek relief from one or more of these sensations:  Yes/No

Note to All Residents:  Please monitor your blood pressure at home and if you detect high blood pressure, please ask your doctor to confirm it with 24-hour blood pressure monitoring when the wind turbines are on.

Tip:  My neighbor recommended monitoring your sleep with a Whoop ($15-$30/month heart rate monitor wristband) or Fitbit Versa 2.  I’m interested in seeing why I sleep the whole night and wake up tired when the turbines are on – it would be interesting to see if I’m not getting REM sleep.

April – November Turbines are required to be off at night to protect bats when wind speed is less than 5 meters/second (11 mph) – Starting December 1, the turbines can be on all night even at the low wind speeds.  Low-frequency sound increases with wind turbine power output (power output increases with increasing wind speed).  The best weather station to assess wind speed at both wind farms is the weather station at the James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge by clicking Daily Summary (and viewing the current and previous day) at:  https://raws.dri.edu/cgi-bin/rawMAIN.pl?hiHKII

If you find the current wind turbines have affected your health, send confidential health information to: webmail@doh.hawaii.gov

To inform the November 22, 2019, hearing about Na Pua Makani Wind Farm, send general (not confidential) information about effects the current smaller turbines have to you to  PUC.comments@hawaii.gov and CC: savekahuku@gmail.com Subject: Docket # 2013-0423 (the Na Pua docket number).

 

More Information About What to Expect:

Here’s the simplest graph I can find showing what decibel level of wind turbine low-frequency sound impulses cause humans to say they are severely impacted (“5”, severe impact, red squares, and “2”, blue squares is reported slight effects that don’t impact behavior).  This graph is from a study of homes within 1,600 meters of turbines, Cape Bridgewater, Australia).

Cape Bridgewater Severe Physical Impact Graph - Decibels versus Hz

Based on reported frequency of annoyance and this graph, my guess is Kahuku is currently experiencing 50 dB of 8 Hz sound from the 2.5 MW farther away turbines and that’s going to increase more than 33 dB (to more than 83 dB) if Na Pua Makani is allowed to operate. 83 dB is not even on this graph, it’s so high. Based on reported annoyance, my guess is Sunset Beach and Laie are currently experiencing 40-45 dB of 8 Hz sound – and Na Pua Makani would increase that more than 16 dB to more than 56-61 dB. (Read 8 Hz on the bottom axis, and 56-61 dB on the y axis – people who may only be annoyance level “2” in Laie and Sunset Beach now are going to be annoyance level “5” if these big turbines are allowed to operate.) 

Don’t forget the rule of thumb for sound – an increase of 6 dB is a doubling of perceived sound level.

You can’t retrofit your house to block the sound (the limestone block home in this study was abandoned). Most of us don’t want to move away – I hope we can tolerate living in a shelter. I’ve read you can block 16 dB of 3 Hz sound with 7.6 inches of wet sand (red clay soil does not block nearly as well as wet sand); you can block 40 dB of 3 Hz sound with 1 meter of wet (27%) sand, like the 1 cubic yard sandbags at Lowes. Don’t forget most of the sound is coming from above – so the sandbags need to be on the roof and on the sides of the structure facing the turbines (a very sturdy 10×12 structure that can hold 10-20 tons on the roof) . Because pressure pulses like this eddy behind the sandbags, some portion of the sides may also need to be sandbagged.