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Waterford Hills Community Train Noise Wall - Germantown, MD

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The Waterford Hills Community in Germantown, MD is requesting The Maryland Division Of Environmental Policy and Compliance, Department Of Environmental Protection to build a sound barrier and place rail dampeners to suppress the noise pollution and vibrations coming directly from the trains that use the local railroad tracks. 

Everyday and night, no matter the time of day, trains loaded with freight will disturb our peaceful community and our houses will vibrate. The noise pollution is so extreme that it will completely drown out all conversations, and wake home owners while trying to sleep.

Critical Health Effects

Noise pollution can result in adverse impacts on health and well-being. The impacts on humans of noises above the acceptable range have been studied extensively.   At extreme levels, hearing itself can be impacted.   Other problems related to noise include compromised learning, stress, high blood pressure, sleep loss, distraction and lost productivity, and a general reduction in the quality of life and opportunities for tranquility.

Fewer studies have been done on impacts to wild and domesticated animals, but environmentalists are concerned with  impacts such as interference with communication, masking predation, startle and fright.

Studies indicate that children are more sensitive than adults to loud noise.  Humans (and animals) are more sensitive to noise when they are sleeping.  More than 30 years ago a researcher, Dr. Arline Bronzaft, found that students in a school next to a elevated train in NYC were one year behind in reading ability if they had been on the noisy side of the school. That same researcher found that a couple years after the noise was reduced, the reading abilities of students on the formerly noisy side of school improved.

The community, train riders, and train operators & employees have different types of exposure to the “noise climate” and the climate will be different after build out than during construction.   During construction, the noise levels are typically greater.  Workers constructing the train, as well as members of the community adjacent to the tracks, must be protected from the adverse impacts of excessive noise.

Noise standards for railways
If a railway line no longer complies with permissible noise emission levels, the responsible authority must take measures to ensure that it does, for instance by installing a noise barrier.

Measures to reduce noise nuisance caused by freight trains
The authorities and the private sector have taken various measures to reduce the noise nuisance caused by passing freight trains, such as:

Rail dampers
Rail dampers are fastened to both sides of the rail. By absorbing vibrations they reduce noise by about three decibels.

Low-noise trains
Nearly all freight wagons have cast-iron brake blocks, which are very noisy. European noise standards now require new freight trains to have composite (synthetic) brake blocks, which keep the wheels smooth. They generate seven to eight decibels less noise than cast-iron brake blocks.

LL brake blocks
Existing freight wagons often remain in service for decades. Fitting them with composite brake blocks is relatively expensive. An alternative is to fit them with LL (‘low noise, low friction’) brake blocks, which have a shorter service life than their composite equivalents but reduce noise almost as effectively.

Railway Noise Impace Analysis with Cover Letter for our area
http://www.daicsearch.org/imageENABLE/search.asp?Keyword=120110090

References
http://calhsr.com/environmental-review/noise-pollution/
https://www.government.nl/topics/noise-nuisance/contents/noise-pollution-from-railways



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