Measuring the impact of our operations
What is Noise and why is it important?
Sound is what we hear, but noise is defined as unwanted sound that might disturb the peace of people who are in the vicinity. The difference often depends upon the listener and the circumstance, as well as the sound’s frequency and whether the sound is continuous or intermittent.
Sound is typically measured by its ‘sound pressure’, commonly measured in decibels. In a typical community, noise starts to cause annoyance when the sound level outside their home measures around 55 decibels.
The most common effect of community noise is annoyance. However, excessive noise may also impact the ability to have an ordinary conversation, enjoy some leisure activities, or get a good night’s sleep.
How is Noise measured?
PRPA measures sound through the use of sensitive monitoring equipment that measures decibels and enables audio recordings of the surrounding area. The data readings are continuous and constantly measured (i.e. real-time), and the data is transmitted directly to PRPA. The audio recordings allow for the identification the many noise sources that are not terminal related (e.g.) trains and railyard, overhead float planes, passing vehicles, birds & wildlife, etc.) Given the subjective nature of its impact as an annoyance or nuisance, neighbourhood feedback is a very important monitoring supplement to this equipment
How much Noise is acceptable?
Given the vague nature of defining noise, its specific regulation is generally limited to consumer products and occupational standards in Canada. PRPA has adopted 55 decibels as a baseline towards which to manage noise related to terminal activities and their impact on residential areas.