White noise: Study finds quieter compressor station, but neighbors still hear sound

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BURRILLVILLE – Neighbors have complained for years about noise coming from the Algonquin/Enbridge gas compressor station on Wallum Lake Road, and according to a recent study commissioned by the town, the company has finally addressed the issue.

An independent noise monitoring study conducted in March by Hessler Associates, Inc. found that noise from the station is well below regulatory limits and reduced significantly from previous levels.

Still, some neighbors say the company could do more to reduce the nuisance.

“I read Mr. Hessler’s noise report and I guess unit 5 still has a low frequency noise problem and that’s probably why I hear it 4-5 times a week,” said Stephanie Slocum to members of the Town Council. “It usually starts between 11 a.m. and 3 a.m. It’s just that one unit.”

The company, previously known as Spectra Energy, merged with Enbridge in 2017. The study notes that six compressor units at the station were retrofitted with new exhaust silencers last year, decreasing sound emissions.

The survey “result confirms that the station’s audible sound emissions have been greatly reduced from what they were before the stack replacements.”

The two oldest compressor units were decommissioned in April after the study was complete, a change expected to further reduce noise.

Slocum noted that neighbors have recently seen large tractor trailers bringing enormous pipes into the station, asking if council members knew why.

“I’m the first one to admit: I’m paranoid,” Sloman said.

Town Manager Michael Wood said the incoming materials were likely due to ongoing upgrades and maintenance.

Town Council President John Pacheco said he recently toured the facility and it looked far better than it did in a previous visit.

“It was considerably cleaner. It was considerably quieter,” said Pacheco. “I was impressed actually because every time I’ve been there it’s been a disaster zone.”

Wood noted that additional maintenance on the facility is expected to be completed some time next year, further alleviating the problem.

“We don’t know exactly when that’s going to happen,” said Wood.

The report can be viewed in its entirety here .