The Fortis proposal is presently under review by the BC government’s Environmental Assessment Office under the BC Environmental Assessment Act. The compressor station expansion is a small part of the overall pipeline proposal, but the Eagle Mountain Compressor Station component is most significant for Westwood Plateau residents. The deadline for submissions regarding the project was March 12th, but was then extended to March 27. While the momentum behind the project is substantial and approval is likely, it should be possible to require Fortis to take sufficient noise abatement measures at the compressor station to minimize the impact on the neighbouring community. What is Fortis Position? The Fortis analysis concludes that the noise generated by the new components will be within guidelines recommended by the BC Oil and Gas Commission. There are several questions about this conclusion.
- The BC Oil and Gas guidelines are specific that the permissible sound level at the most affected residence (usually the nearest) should not exceed 40 dBA Leq during night-time hours. Fortis has used 48 dBA as the permissible night time noise level claiming that the existing ambient night time sound level is above 40dBA based on their measurements.
- The Fortis background noise measurements were taken with the existing compressor or compressors in operation, whereas the BC Oil and Gas Guidelines require “Ambient sound surveys should be conducted without any energy-related industrial components.” Fortis asserts that the existing compressor station doesnot contribute substantially to the present ambient noise, although our ears, especially at night, indicate that this is incorrect.
- Site selection for the background noise measurements are questionable – a closest affected residence was not identified and the equipment at the closest monitoring station was relocated during the 24 hour test.
- The Fortis noise computer modeling has only considered the new equipment and does not include the existing equipment.
- The BC Oil and Gas Commission Guidelines appear most relevant to new construction in rural environments (for example referencing “dwellings per quarter section of land”).
- Fortis responds formally to several of the noise and testing related questions in a memo dated April 2, 2015 – the responses reflect an essential lack of sensitivity to concerns. A copy of the Memo is available by Clicking here Fortis Response