Cohocton Wind Watch: Wind panel tackles health and safety
Cohocton Wind Watch is a community citizen organization dedicated to preserve the public safety, property values, economic viability, environmental integrity and quality of life in Cohocton, NY and in surrounding townships. Neighbors committed to public service in order to achieve a reasonable vision for a Finger Lakes region worthy of future generations.


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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Wind panel tackles health and safety

LAFARGEVILLE — The second set of recommendations from the town of Orleans Wind Committee includes requirements for fences around turbines, an earthquake preparedness manual and fire department training.

The recommendations were submitted to the Town Council at Thursday night's meeting.

These recommendations addressed a wide range of health and safety issues unrelated to noise concerns, which were addressed in the first set of recommendations. The new issues also included stray voltage, well water and radon.

"These are all things that we had found during our research and we wanted to put them in, but we didn't want them to go with the first part and have too much for board members at one time," Chairman Stephen Bingeman said.

The committee recommended the town require pre- and post-construction studies on electronic interference and radon. If conditions are worse after construction, the developer would be required to fix the situation.

Other studies include a survey of underground "karst features," which have pockets that are susceptible to allowing tainted groundwater to run into underground aquifers. Committee members expressed concerns that blasting for foundation construction could cause contamination of aquifers and the wells they feed, and allow radon gas to infiltrate houses.

Suggested requirements for wind developers include:

■ Follow the National Electric Code to eliminate stray voltage.

■ Submit construction schedule reports to the town.

■ Perform a survey of underground karst features and well testing.

■ Submit an earthquake preparedness manual and report on the likely effects of seismic activity on the facility.

■ Provide firefighting equipment and training as well as an emergency response plan.

■ Minimize the possibility of lightning damage to the turbines.

■ Use lights on the central nacelle of the turbine that won't shine downward.

■ Restore all roads to county and town specifications.

■ Place a fence around and security cameras on turbines.

All of the recommendations come with references to research that is the basis for the committee's suggestions.

The recommendations also include appointing a seven-member complaint board to handle problems with unresolved noise, health and safety issues.

The board would have a $100,000 escrow account to use for studies and expert advice.

"The problem is if there is no town input or complaint board, you are left at the mercy of the developer," said committee member Patricia A. Booras-Miller. "The town should have input and make sure complaints are responded to in a timely manner."

ON THE NET

Complete recommendations are available on Writer's Bloc, the Times' newsroom blog: www.watertowndailytimes.

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