The source of the mysterious Windsor Hum in the southwestern Ontario city is on Zug Island — in River Rouge, Mich. — according to a federally funded report released today.
Essex Conservative MP Jeff Watson released the report's findings at a news conference at the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research at the University of Windsor on Friday.
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Watson said U.S. officials must now determine the precise location of the noise. Copies of the federal report have been given to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and the mayor of River Rouge.
“We look forward to further discussions with them,” Watson said.
Zug Island is home to a U.S. Steel operation and is an area of concentrated steel production and other manufacturing.
University of Windsor Prof. Colin Novak was one of the lead researchers.
“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find that smoking gun,” he said.
Novak said he and his partners needed more time and U.S. co-operation to pinpoint the source.
“The study time just wasn’t long enough, especially for a sound like this, one that doesn’t manifest itself on a regular, timed interval. It’s like chasing a ghost,” he said.
Novak said there now needs to be co-operation with all levels of U.S. government and companies on Zug Island.
“It wasn’t in our mandate to talk to the companies [on Zug Island]. Our mandate was to do everything from our side [of the Detroit River],” Novak said.
He said audio equipment carried on a boat got to within 100 metres of Zug Island. No equipment was ever on the industrial island.
Residents in west and south Windsor and the neighbouring town of LaSalle started complaining about the rumbling and humming noise more than three years ago.
It has been described as sounding like an idling locomotive, a transport truck and running refrigerator.
People have complained about sleepless nights, rattling windows and headaches.
Mike Provost is a west-end resident. He lives five kilometres south of Zug Island.
"I think it's exactly what I anticipated," he said of the findings. "I think there's more to be done.
"I wish there was more, but I knew there wouldn't be because of the [border] issue."
Mike Evans shot this nighttime video of Zug Island in action.
Windsor Coun. Al Maghnieh has been fielding complaints about the noise for years, and has been vocal about getting to the bottom of the phenomenon.
“We want to know exactly what the solution is to either stop it or reduce it to a point where it's not affecting the quality of life of residents,” Maghnieh said
Watson said it is important to “protect the quality of life” in Windsor.
“We made a commitment to find a solution that would work for the people of Windsor."
In January 2013, Ottawa earmarked $60,000 for two research projects to find the Windsor Hum's origin.
In February 2013, Novak and a group of fellow scientists and researchers from Windsor and London's Western University set up a state-of-the-art, $250,000 recording station in a woodlot in the western part of Windsor. It was a virtual ear, tuned to record the hum 24/7.
Peter Brown of Western University was also part of the research team.
The first report was "inconclusive," Watson said. The second determined Zug Island to be home to the hum.
Zug Island is just a few kilometres down river from the west end of Windsor.