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Jun 11  Comment

Whitehorse diesel engine sound monitoring results

This past April, we had to run company-owned diesel engines in Whitehorse, Mayo, Dawson City and Faro to generate electricity because of low water levels and one of our liquefied natural gas generators in Whitehorse being out-of-service. During that time, we heard concerns from some Riverdale residents in Whitehorse about noise levels coming from the Whitehorse diesel plant, and committed to hiring an independent consultant to monitor sound levels. The consultant’s research is complete and shows that when our four company-owned diesel units in Whitehorse were running this spring, sound levels: At our Riverside substation near homes on Nisutlin Drive (approx. 250 metres from the diesel plant) were higher than levels permitted by the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission (BC OGC) and Health Canada; and Near homes on Bell Crescent (approx. 450 metres from the diesel plant) were lower than BC OGC and Health Canada guidelines. The British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission’s (BC OGC) Noise Control Best Practices Guidelines and Health Canada’s Guidance for Evaluating Human Health Impacts in Environmental Assessment: Noise are two standards commonly used in Yukon as guidelines to assess sound levels for industrial activities. Specific measurements of the sound levels recorded at each site and the sound thresholds set in each guideline are included in two summary tables at the end of this article. Knowing these results, we will: Look into what it would take to install a permanent sound monitoring device at the Riverside substation on Nisutlin Drive. Our goal is to always be aware of how much noise is being emitted by the diesel generators and for an alert to be sent to us if we are nearing permissible limits. Explore possible ways to reduce noise levels at the Whitehorse diesel plant. This may include adding equipment to the generators to muffle noise, making changes to the building or other options. Thank you to all residents who contacted us about this matter and offered us the use of their yard to do this important work. We apologize for the disturbance these generators caused and are optimistic that as we work to build and integrate more renewables onto the grid, that our reliance on diesel and LNG generators during spring months will be reduced. Table 1.0 Sound Monitoring Levels Compared to BC OCG Guidelines Sound Monitoring Location Measured Daytime Noise (dB) BCOG Daytime Noise Permissible Sound Level (dB) Difference (dB) Riverside substation (Nisutlin Drive) 66.4 61 +5.4 Bell Crescent 52.5 61 -8.5 Table 2.0 Sound Monitoring Levels Compared to Health Canada Guidelines Sound Monitoring Location Calculated % Change in Operating & Non-Operating Sound Levels Maximum % Change Permitted in Operating & Non-Operating Sound Levels Difference (dB) Riverside substation (Nisutlin Drive) 11.4% 6.5% +4.9% Bell Crescent -1.5% 6.5% -8.5%

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