Fayetteville to pursue wastewater plant noise mitigation

Several Lakeside on Redwine residents joined forces Thursday night in asking Fayetteville City Council members to do something about the noise coming from the city’s nearby wastewater treatment plant.

The plant, which is several miles away from the neighborhood by road, is actually less than 1,000 feet away from several homes in both the Lakeside on Redwine and Lakemont subdivisions, both of which back up to the plant.

Some of those residents Thursday night said they have been trying for years to figure out where the noise was originating, and it was only after they started taking notes and talking with City Hall that they discovered they were hearing the city’s wastewater treatment plant just a few hundred feet away through a thin stretch of forest. When the city hired a noise engineering consultant to do further study, they learned that one of the plant’s blower units was the main culprit.

While Director of Public Services Chris Hindman says the plant’s noise levels fall within industry standards, he told city council members the sound’s frequency is apparently shifting lower as it moves away from the plant toward the nearby neighborhoods, and it is especially those low-frequency noises that can irritate people, some of whom can’t actually hear it with their ears but feel it in their bodies.

Whatever the case, several residents reported Thursday night that they have been losing sleep and finding it difficult to concentrate at times because of the irritating noises.

The city’s noise engineering consultant, Frank Artusa with ArtUSA Noise Control Products of Norcross, recommends one of three solutions to mitigate the noise problem. All three options include adding more silencing material inside the buildings that contain the blowers, and two of the options involve building an L-shaped fence outside the building in the direction of the nearby neighborhoods. Artusa said his company could guarantee the special PVC fencing would do the trick.

The preferred option, according to Hindman, would be for the city to install a 12-foot fence, which, when you include the extra sound-absorbing material inside the building, would cost an estimated $48,000.

City council members gave Hindman permission to move forward by seeking additional bids from other sound mitigation companies.

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