The City announced on January 29 that baseline noise levels were received from Extraction for the Livingston, Northwest A and B, and United Pads. Residents can review them at the links below, while the City stated it is reviewing them and will report later.
According to the Comprehensive Drilling Plan, Extraction was required to conduct baseline noise studies prior to the start of construction of the pad site. Extraction hired a third party consultant ENGR to complete the studies. The Interchange A and B Pad studies were submitted in December 2018. Construction on Interchange B is halfway completed and drilling is scheduled to begin in March.
On January 23, residents raised questions to the City if pipeline construction on the Livingston Pad would impact the baseline noise studies. Ms. Yellico responded that pipeline construction would be stopped during baseline noise studies. Actually, the Livingston report stated that ENGR ran the baseline noise studies prior to resident inquiries, from Friday afternoon, January 18 – Monday afternoon, January 21.
In briefly reviewing the three Livingston monitoring reports, the averages were:
Livingston South 49.7 dBA and 66.3 dBC
Livingston East 54.1 dBA and 69.5 dBC
Livingston North 58.5 dBA and 71.1 dBC
It should be expected that the City will explain what this data means for future pad noise monitoring and enforcement.
In many cases the baseline dBA levels (measurements of the loudness of noises your ear may hear) already exceeded the COGGC’s standard of a maximum of 55 dBA during the day and 50 dBA at night for oil and gas noises in residential/agricultural/rural areas. However, these standards do not apply during pad construction, and after pad construction the Operator Agreement allows dBA maximum noise levels to be 4 dBA higher than the baseline ambient sound levels measured at 1,000 feet from the sound walls. The report noted that none of the pads during the baseline monitoring would have been compliant 100% of the time (Livingston South 90%, Livingston East 94%, Livingston North 96%).
Also, the average dBC (measurements of low frequencies you may feel as vibrations) on all the pads was already greater than the 65.0 dBC level which triggers a COGCC rule that requires the operator to obtain a low frequency noise impact analysis. COGCC 802.d reads “If the reading exceeds 65 dB(C), the Commission shall require the operator to obtain a low frequency noise impact analysis.” 802.c.(5) “In all sound level measurements, the existing ambient noise level from all other sources in the encompassing environment at the time and place of such sound level measurement shall be considered to determine the contribution to the sound level by the oil and gas operation(s).”