Community Noise Assessment of a Wood-Pellet Manufacturer

City of Boyne City, Michigan

After the startup of a wood-pellet manufacturing plant, some residents of Boyne City, Michigan started registering noise complaints with the city office. The City of Boyne City, with cooperation of Kirtland Product, a wood-pellet manufacturer, retained RSG to quantify community noise levels, assess the causes of noise from the wood-pellet plant, and provide mitigation recommendations to reduce sound levels within the community.

RSG conducted extensive sound level monitoring at the plant to measure noise emissions from plant equipment and throughout the community to quantify and characterize community noise levels. During the site visit, RSG staff met with city officials and members of the community to gather feedback about the noise complaints and understand the goals of the City. Boyne City did not have an applicable noise standard, but based on feedback from the City, RSG recommended a noise threshold goal for the assessment. Using the measured noise emissions and community noise levels, we constructed a calibrated sound propagation model using Cadna A acoustical modeling software to determine which factory sources were contributing most to sound levels within the neighboring communities and which sources of noise required mitigation. We provided the City with a list of recommendations and general cost estimates to address several complex noise issues and showed via the sound propagation model that the noise threshold goal could be met in most residential areas. Results were provided to the City in a report and presented via a public meeting teleconference. After the community noise assessment, Boyne City continued to work with Kirtland Products to see what mitigation recommendations could be implemented.

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