Dartmouth residents living near the Tufts Cove power plant used to complain about soot covering their homes and vehicles, but now it’s the noise that’s impacting their lives.
The Nova Scotia Power facility operates two natural gas turbines with a waste-heat recovery program.
Diane Watson lives directly across the street from the plant and said she calls Nova Scotia Power on an almost daily basis to draw attention to the smell of natural gas and noise from the turbines.
She's been doing the same thing for several years, since the plant switched from coal to natural gas.
The soot is no longer a problem.
'You jump right out of your seat.' - Diane Watson, plant neighbour
Watson said when the natural gas turbines start or steam is released, the noise is enough to wake her from sleep.
“You jump right out of your seat, even in the daytime when that goes on,” she said.
She said the sound goes through her whole body. She said her house vibrates, pictures fall of the wall, and new cracks keep appearing.
“My house is moving,” she said. “There’s cracks in the walls that were never there before, and the house is not settling when it’s 70 years old.”
A few years ago, NSP paid more than $10,000 for a heat pump so Watson could keep her doors and windows closed. Watson said it helped with the noise a bit, but she still had to move to a back bedroom to sleep.
She said the noise has been getting worse in the past year and NSP has sent staff in to measure the noise levels, but she doesn’t know the results. Watson said the most recent testing was in February.
Watson is concerned for her health and the health of her neighbours.
“It’s just unbelievable,” she said. “Your body can only stand so much. I have talked to people who say this sound does go right through your body and it can cause health problems.”
NSP’s Nera Ritchie said the noise has been an issue for several years, despite installing a wall around the turbines and mufflers.
She said there's no easy fix and Nova Scotia Power will continue to work with neighbours to find both short and long term solutions.