One thing that should be addressed in all of this is the long-term health effects this non-stop noise could be having on area residents. Studies prove that exposure to noise above 65 decibels for more than eight hours daily increase the risk of permanent hearing loss, high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. But scientists are quick to point out that the decibel levels can be significantly lower than 65 and still have a harmful effect when people are exposed day in and day out with no relief. Many of Vienna’s residents are also suffering from noise-induced sleep deprivation as a result of the building’s din, which exacerbates existing health problems and creates new ones.
Children exposed to noise pollution have trouble concentrating and their school performance suffers. Children, the elderly, and people battling illness are the most vulnerable to noise-related health problems, but no one is immune. One resident says that the noise resembled a propeller plane taking off in his direction. After two years of that imagery, the psychological impact, combined with the fact that it’s loud enough to keep everyone’s stress level high (the fight-or-flight reflex is not meant to be turned on all the time) has the community in an uproar.
Goldstar, at this point, is shuffling papers and issuing statements that basically claim that the building’s operations do not violate any ordinances of the Town of Vienna. However, Goldstar claims that, in collaboration with GSA, it wants to address the noise concerns and “be a good neighbor.’”
Needless to say, after giving the community its word two years ago in exchange for an occupancy permit and then never making good on its word, Goldstar should have no reason to expect the Vienna community to believe, well, one word its company officials say.
Plus, Goldstar is committing only to reducing the noise to “legal levels” – which in Vienna were defined back in 1950, using outdated decibel and frequency measurement criteria.
Air conditioning units like these didn’t even exist when Vienna’s noise ordinance was written, and the effects of noise pollution on human health were not known back then either.
As town officials and residents mull over their next course of action, it’s a tough road any way you look at it. The town absolutely can’t face another summer of noise, and all options are on the table at this point – including a legal injunction.
So despite all the broken promises and the growing resentment of the community, what has kept Vienna residents from taking drastic action even after two years have passed and they still have received no relief from the noise?
Vienna residents are proud to have the Terrorist Screening Center in their community. After all, who wants to sue the Terrorist Screening Center?