Wind turbines on Averne Avenue in Ocean Gate will be shut off between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., pending a further Ocean County Health Department investigation, Mayor Paul J. Kennedy said.
The health department notified borough officials on March 12 that a noise level recording done on site showed that noise levels violated acceptable decibel levels, said health department spokesperson Leslie Terjesen.
"We're working closely with Ocean Gate officials on this," she said.
Terjesen said the health department had received several complaints from residents about noise from the turbines during night hours.
The acceptable residential decibel at night is 50, but the New Jersey Administrative Code requires that the dBA - the decible level audible to the human ear - must also be measured, she said.
Kennedy said the violation was deemed "minor."
"The borough has continually pledged to fully cooperate in the OCHD investigation," Kennedy said. "The borough continues to evaluate and study the wind turbine in order to make any improvements that may maximize the efficiency and benefits of its operation including the reduction of any noise produced in conjunction therewith."
The borough sent a written response and information request to the OCHD requesting additional data and details regarding the investigation and the readings obtained, Kennedy said.
Kennedy said he agreed to a voluntary shutdown of the turbines during night hours on the advice of Borough Attorney James J. Gluck.
Gluck said today the borough is still trying to get details about when the latest testing was done and which state code the health department was using.
Another state statute does not allow municipalities to set decibel limits on wind turbines under 55 decibels, Gluck said.
"We're trying to get the information from the health department," he said. "We don't have any details as yet. I advised the mayor to look into doing a voluntary shutdown."
Both of the turbines were built with federal loans and grants and supported by the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Board of Public Utilities, he said.
The first turbine went online in late 2009. The second turbine "has some issues with its operation" and is not online, Gluck said.
Any questions regarding the wind turbine should be submitted in writing to James J. Gluck, Esq., 217 Washington Street, Toms River, New Jersey 08753. Phone (732) 505-4800, Facsimile (732) 505-4813, E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.