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The challenges of conducting noise surveys in urban areas

Ambient noise surveys crucially establish an information baseline which will enable you to better understand existing noise levels and the additional impact your facility may have on the surrounding community

The process is relatively simple in rural areas where the oil and gas industry tends to have well sites and compressor stations located, with only the odd passing train or plane overhead to factor in.

However, conducting ambient noise surveys for power plants, which tend to be located in and around urban areas throughout much of the world, can be much more challenging!

There are many more sources of noise and variables in urban environments which acousticians need to factor during the measurement process to ensure the final results are accurate and not compromised.

Some of these issues include the presence of heavy traffic flows during the day, requiring the recording of measurements be taken overnight when traffic is light or absent. Adjacent pedestrian traffic can also necessitate the engagement of security services to protect expensive and delicate equipment.

The presence of many additional fixed noise sources in the neighbourhood may require the installation of multiple sound level meters, depending on which are to be included or excluded.

This way, the amount of noise being generated by any fixed noise sources neighboring a site will be considered and removed from the final equation to determine the sound emission from only your facility.

Of course, the deployment of all the equipment and security guards to protect it needs to be permitted and cleared with local regulatory authorities including the police. Forgetting this step can lead to embarrassing middle-of-the-night phone calls from the police demanding immediate takedown of unpermitted equipment.

When conducting ambient noise surveys in urban environments, you just never know what complications may arise.

There are many variables that can affect the outcome of a noise measurement and it is left to the acoustician to determine which are pertinent to the ambient noise level and which are not.

However, the practical joker using the noise meter mic for his “American Idol” audition can safely be omitted!

Innova has the expert acousticians and project management capabilities to overcome any of the various challenges to capture the necessary ambient noise data required to get the job done.