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Railroads and Rapid Transit
Regulations and Proposed Regulations
Synthesis of Social Surveys on Noise Annoyance
March 1, 1978
Since noise was first recognized as a serious environmental pollutant, a number of social surveys have been conducted in order to assess the magnitude of the problem and to develop suitable noise ratings, such that, from a measurement of certain physical characteristics of community noise, one could reliably predict the community's subjective response to the noise. Recently, the author has reviewed the data from social surveys concerning the noise of aircraft, street traffic, expressway traffic, and railroads. Going back to the original published data, the various survey noise ratings were translated to day-night average sound level, and an independent judgment was made, where choices were possible, as in which respondents should be counted as "higly annoyed". The results of 11 of these surveys show a remarkable consistency. It is proposed that the average of these curves is the best currently available relationship for predicting community annoyance due to transportation noise of all kinds.
Administrative Conference of the United States: The Dormant Noise Control Act and Options to Abate Noise Pollution - Noise and Its Effects
November 1, 1991
In early 1981, the Director of the Office of Noise Abatement and Control (ONAC) at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was informed that the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) had decided to end funding of ONAC and that the matter was non-negotiable. Congress' eventual acquiescence in OMB's action was, and remains, unique. Of the twenty-eight environmental and health and safety statutes passes between 1958 and 1980, the Noise Control Act of 1972 (NCA) stands alone in being stripped of budgetary support. Since Congress did not repeal the NCA when it eliminated ONAC's funding, EPA remains legally responsible for enforcing the regulations it issued under the Act, but without any budget support legislated for that purpose. Moreover, although some of the regulations are now out of date, and others may be inadequate, EPA's lack of budgetary support effectively precludes their amendment. Since the NCA preempts local and state governments from regulating noise sources in many situations, these levels of government may not be able to step into the void created by COngress' decision not to fund EPA. This report considers the future of noise abatement in the United States and what role EPA should play in that function. Part I describes the history of noise abatement in the United States before ONAC was created, during its tenure, and after its abolition. Part II evaluates the role of local and state governments in noise reduction and EPA's relationship to such efforts. Part III assesses the role of the federal government and EPA in noise reduction. The report concludes that it would be unfortunate for COngress to maintain the status quo where EPA has ongoing legal duties, but it has no funding to carry them out. Although Congress could eliminate the federal government's responsibilities for noise abatement, the NCA, with modifications, should remain in force. This does not mean, however, that EPA should merely pick up where it left off 10 years ago. Instead of relying primarily on emissions controls as it did previously, EPA should emphasize abatement approaches that rely on local and state activity, on market incentives, and on coordination with other agencies, private standard-setting groups, and regulatory agencies in other countries.
Community Noise Ordinances: Their Evolution, Purpose and Impact
March 13, 1973
In the United States most municipal noise ordinances initially regulated street related activities, however, these early provisions were generally non-quantitative and consequently unenforceable. The first ordinances containing specific permissible noise levels regulated either activities fixed to the land (industrial activity being the primary source) or automobile and trucks operating on roadways. Today more comprehensive ordinances are evolveing and these regulations are the basis for expanded municipal noise control programs. Their impact has varied due to the quality, content and administration of these ordinances. Recently approved Federal noise legislation (Noise Control Act of 1972) will have a profound influence on the quality and quantity of municipal ordinances.
Economic and Social Impact of Occupational Noise Exposure Regulations
September 1, 1976
This report elaborates on the costs and benefits associated with alternative occupational noise exposure regulations. The limitations of cost/benefit analysis for social decision-making are enunciated. The impact of various regulatory alternatives for 85 dBA and 90 dBA criteria are analyzed.
An Evaluation of Strategies to Control Noise From Refuse Collection Vehicles
October 1, 1981
This report investigated four potential noise control approaches to the control of noise from refuse collection vehicles. These included: (1) the potential impact of a legislative alternative requiring stationary compactors for all new high-rise developments; (2) the effect of a collection curfew; (3) the incorporation of noise into an annual inspection program and (4) the impact of taking no local action and allowing federal regulations to serve as the only control. It provides a mechanism for routine monitoring and isolation of particularly noise vehicles. As this study was performed in Prince George's County, Maryland, where high-rise development is minimal, further consideration for the first alternative was not given.
Federal Noise Research in Noise Effects
February 14, 1978
The Federal Noise Effects Research Program was documented and reviewed. The program expanded slightly over the last few years, with more agencies participating. The program is reasonably comprehensive and in general coordinated with no unjustified overlap of efforts. Research needs to support and justify regulatory and standards requirements were identified by the Panel as being of the highest priority. Satisfaction of these relatively short term goals with present budget restrictions could jeopardize long-range basic research needs to understand basic effects mechanisms. To satisfy both requirements, the Panel on the average recommends an increase of the overall Federal noise effects research budget of 40%. The Panel recommends several specific research topics for high priority funding. Some of these recommendations are the same ones listed among the 1974 recommendations, and the Panel was concerned about the only partial responsiveness to previous findings. Among the areas requiring additional support are effects of noise on sleep, and community or collective response. The area primarily requiring additional support priority and clarification is the area of non-auditory health effects, since no major well planned program for this area was apparent.
Guidelines and Sample Training Workbook for Police Enforcement of Noise Regulations
February 1, 1980
This report is one of the products of a contract between the EPA's Noise Enforcement Division and Jack Faucett Associates, Inc. One purpose of the contract is to develop materials suitable for use in training State and local police officers to enforce their noise control laws.
Model Community Noise Control Ordinance
September 1, 1975
This report contains a model ordinance for use by cities and counties in the development of noise control ordinances tailored to local conditions and goals. It is a comprehensive, performance-standard noise ordinance intended to overcome enforcement problems associated with the outmoded nuisance law approach to noise control. This report contains sections on the control of noise from both stationary and mobile sources and includes land use planning provisions. A preamble gives important explanatory information for certain ordinance sections.
Noise Emission Measurements for Regulatory Purposes
March 1, 1977
A review is given of the measurement needs attendant to regulation of the noise generated and emitted by commercial products. The emphasis is primarily on measurement procedures for use in conjunction with point-of-sale regulations as opposed to regulations on the noise which a source actually emits when in operation. The report is divided into three major parts. Part I is a discussion of overall measurement requirements and the type of data and information which are needed in order to promulgate regulations based on appropriate measurement techniques. Part II is designed as a checklist for the evaluation of the suitability of a noise measurement standard for a particular class of products or, in the absence of a suitable standard, as a framework for development of one. The intent is to identify and discuss in some detail those factors which can impact on the accuracy, precision, and applicability of a noise measurement process. Part III consists of a series of flow charts depicting the development appropriate procedures for the measurement of product noise emission.
Noise Source Regulation in State and Local Noise Ordinances
February 1, 1975
This document has been prepared as a planning and reference guide for public administrators of environmental noise control programs. It presents a summary of noise source regulations encompassed in current state laws and local ordinances. Data have been extracted from only those laws and ordinances stipulating specific decibel levels. For the states, the laws summarized are grouped under the headings: motor vehicles, recreational vehicles, land use, and general. For localities, the headings are: motor vehicles, recreational vehicles, intrusive noise sources, stationary noise sources, construction noise, and miscellaneous noise regulations. Because of the many variations among local jurisdictional regulations, no attempt was made to list the specific noise level requirements for recreational vehicles, construction equipment, or land use.
Noise Violations: Guidance Manual for State and Local Prosecutors
The purpose of this manual is to provide guidance to prosecutors who choose to take legal action against violators of State or local noise control regulations; its intent is to assist prosecutors preparing for and conducting a trial - from drafting the complaint to submitting jury instructions.
Proceedings of the International Congress on Noise as a Public Health Problem
In 1968, a Conference on Noise as a Public Health Hazard was organized by the American Speech and Hearing Association. At this conference, an attempt was made to bring together a group of speakers who could present summaries of the current state of knowledge ell all aspects of the "noise problem", ranging all tile way from fairly technical treatises to completely non-technical statements of personal opinion. Such a wide-ranging representation was judged to be necessary for the purpose of that conference, which was to present a broad overview of what "noise pollution" was all about, to government personnel and other intelligent laymen who saw that it was probably going to become a hot issue, and give at least a few examples of the scientific evidence underlying arguments about just what effects noise does have. At this time it was realized that as the environmentalist movement gathered momentum, a rapid development of public concern could be expected, and so a permanent Committee of ASHA was established, one of whose charges was to plan another conference when it was judged appropriate. The burgeoning of interest in noise in the intervening 5 years has clearly met, if not surpassed, our expectations at that time. In the developed areas of the world, millions of dollars or their equivalent are being spent on surveys of noise levels and exposures, and increasingly stringent noise regulations are being imposed by all levels of government. And, although the measurement of the effects of noise is nowhere near as simple as the measurement of the noises themselves, many laboratories, mostly with federal support, are engaged in full-time research on the hearing losses, sleep disturbance, speech interference, alteration of physiological state, and annoyance caused by noise. Accordingly, in 1971 we began looking for a sponsor for a second conference-one who would agree, we hoped, to fund attendance by a substantial number of researchers from abroad, so that certain areas of knowledge less intensively studied in the USA could be included in the subject matter. Fortunately, the head of the newly-created Office of Noise Abatement end Control (ONAC) of the Environmental Protection Agency, Dr. Alvin F. Meyer, had need of just such a conference, as a source material for a document summarizing all known criteria that might be used to establish national standards for noise control-that is, provided that the Congress passed the bill, then being duly debated and amended, that would make such a document necessary. Furthermore, certain PL 480 funds (money that must be spent in other countries) were available, which meant that the degree of participation by foreign scientists might be even greater than we had hoped. Not only that, but the particular PL 480 funds in this case were in Jugoslavia, the country that includes one of the garden spots of the world, Dubrovnik. On the assumption that our Congress would pass some form of the bill in question (which it did on October 27, 1972), we forged ahead with plans for our meeting, now upgraded to an International Congress. With the help of Dr. Grujica Zarkovic, the energetic President of the Jugoslavian Medical Association, and Dr. Mario Levi of the University of Sarajevo, a planning meeting was held to which we invited a representative from most of the countries in which noise research was being done (I say "most" because we could not quite afford to pay for attendees from Japan, Australia, and South Africa because of the distance involved, even though considerable research is being done there). At this meeting the formal agenda was decided on, and the list of invited participants prepared. It was agreed that we would try to limit the Congress content strictly to the effects of noise on health, thereby excluding discussions of engineering aspects of noise reduction and control, descriptions of methods for legal control, and presentation of viewpoints of special-interest groups. There was some debate about how much time to allot to public opinion surveys of annoyance, some of as contending that annoyance, as measured in that manner, is not a health hazard at all in the ordinary sense of the term. However, proponents of the WHO definition of "health", in which any deviation from "optimum well-being" is regarded as undesirable, carried the field, and the final day of the Congress was therefore given over to the sociologists. Despite a series of crises precipitated by governmental red tape originating both in Washington and Belgrade, the Congress was held on May 13-18, 1973 at the Libertas Hotel in Dubrovnik. We had two major disappointments: one was the failure of our Russian invitees to appear due to the fact that our official invitations had not been sent early enough. The other was that the Xerox machine at the Libertas was out of commission. However, the general success of the Congress can be gauged by the fact that the audience was as large on the final afternoon as at any other time. A side benefit of the Congress (or so we hope) was the formation of an international organization consisting of 5 "teams" who will try to accumulate and coordinate knowledge about the effects of noise on (1) temporary and permanent bearing loss; (2) extra auditory function; (3) speech; (4) sleep; and (5) community reaction. The parent group, or "basic" team, will attempt to consolidate this knowledge for use by governmental agencies, and will make plans for the next Congress. Although the organization is now alive, its name is still in question. At the moment it is still the "'International Scientific Noise Teams", but the resulting acronym has a negative connotation that pleases few of us. Other names are being considered. I regret that the length of the invited papers made it impracticable to publish at this time any of the short contributed papers that were presented at the Congress, many of which were excellent, or the often-lively discussions that followed each session. It is hoped that these can be included if another printing of the Proceedings is to be made. An enterprise of this scope cannot be a success without hard work on the part of many people. Without doubt the most effort of all wax put forth by Dr. Levi, who managed all the mechanical details of the Congress, with the help of his and Dr. Zarkovic's staff, particularly, Felih Vesna. Official thanks are extended to our sponsoring organizations: The Jugoslavian Medical Association, The American Speech and Hearing Association, the World Health Organization, and of course most of all the Office of Noise Abatement and Control.
Product Noise Labeling Standards - Draft - Background Document for Product Noise Labeling General Provisions
April 1, 1977
This Background Document has been prepared by the Environmental Protection Agency in support of the Proposed Product Noise Labeling Standards - General Provisions. The proposed regulation will be promulgated under the authority of sections 8, 10, 11, and 13 of the Noise Control Act of 1972.
Product Noise Labeling Standards - Draft - Background Document for the Labeling of Hearing Protectors
April 1, 1977
This Background Document has been prepared by the Environmental Protection Agency in support of the Proposed Noise Labeling Standards for Hearing Protectors. The proposed regulation will be promulgated under the authority of sections 8, 10, 11, and 13 of the Noise COntrol Act of 1972.
Regulatory Analysis Appendices for the Noise Emission Regulations for Motorcycles and Motorcycle Exhaust Systems
December 1, 1980
This document includes detail information that supplements section 1 through 8 of the regulatory analysis. In addition it includes an analysis of State, local, and foreign motorcycle noise regulations and a summary of the motorcycle national emphasis plan.
Regulatory Analysis for the Noise Emission Regulations for Motorcycles and Motorcycle Exhaust Systems
December 1, 1980
This document presents the technical data and analyses used by EPA in developing the noise emission regulations fro motorcycles and motorcycle exhaust systems. The information presented includes a detailed discussion of: the motorcycle and motorcycle exhaust systems industry; baseline noise levels for current motorcycles; the noise control technology available; the adverse health and welfare impacts of motorcycle noise and the potential benefits of regulation; the expected costs and potential economic effects of regulation; and the noise measurement methodology.
Toward a National Strategy for Noise Control
April 1, 1977
This document has been developed to continue the dialogue on the overall goals of the noise program, the role of government, the role of consumers, and the role of industry in noise control, along with the selection of specific abatement and enforcement activities for EPA. It establishes a general framework for making decisions on the best strategy that EPA can employ to combat noise pollution. The primary goal of the Agency in the noise pollution area is to promote an environment for all Americans, free from noise that jeopardizes their health or welfare. In order to reach this legislatively mandated objective five specific operational goals have been formulated. These are: (A)To take all practical steps to eliminate hearing loss resulting from noise exposure; (B)To reduce environmental noise exposure to an Ldn value of no more than 75 dB immediately; (C)To reduce noise exposure levels to Ldn 65 dB by vigorous regulatory and planning actions; (D)To strive for an eventual reduction of noise levels to an Ldn of 55 dB; and (E)To encourage and assist other Federal, State and local agencies in the adoption and implementation of long range noise control policies.
See also Community Noise, Urban.
Behavioral and Physiological Correlates of Varying Noise Environments
June 1, 1977
Eighty male college juniors and seniors were dichotomized into either High or Low Anxiety groups. Each subject experienced a household noise profile under a quiet (50 dBA), intermittent (84 dBA) and continuous (84 dBA) noise condition, while performing either an easy or difficult pursuit tracking task. Heart rate, electromyographic potentials, and tracking error responses were evaluated. Results indicated significant (P<.01) main effects for task difficulty and noise condition and significant (P<.01) interaction effects for task difficulty, noise condition and anxiety level (as measured by the IPAT Self Analysis Form) of subjects. The significant noise effect occurred for the difficult task condition during the second tracking period (which includes transfer of training effects) indicating that factors such as task difficulty, direction of task transfer effects, duration of noise exposure as well as anxiety level of subjects appear to be important variables affecting human psychometer performance in noise environments below 85 dBA. These findings appear to be consistent with previous research which suggests that task difficulty is the variable determining the direction of stress (noise) effects on psychometer performances and the nature of the interaction between stress and anxiety level. The present findings are therefore seen as supporting the concepts of the response interference hypothesis and the inverted-U function between stress and performance.
Method for Assessing Benefits of Airborne Noise Isolation Requirements in Residential and Educational Buildings
July 1, 1982
This report presents a method for estimating benefits accruing from implementation of acoustical performance requirements for new buildings. The method can be applied to a wide range of environmental noise conditions and noise isolation requirements for building envelopes. Benefits are estimated based upon the distribution of population with outdoor noise level and the noise isolation provided by the building envelope. A method is described for estimating noise isolation provided performance of existing construction based upon local conditions.
National Ambient Noise Survey
January 1, 1982
The objectives, methodology, and results of a national survey of outdoor noise environments in urban residential areas are discussed. The objectives were to determine overall noise levels, source contributions, and patterns of spatial and temporal variation in these areas, along with the effect of three locational factors on these parameters. The survey employed a randomized site selection procedure, a startified sampling strategy, and a multifaceted measurement protocol to meet these objectives. Results of the survey include a simple model which predicts Ldn in these areas, projections of nationwide noise impact, average source contributions and temporal noise level histories and average variations in noise level at different locations around residential units.
Noise - How Much is Too Much?
May 20, 1975
Henning E. von Gierke contends that enough is known about the effects of noise on people to produce guidelines for maximum noise levels. Adopted by the Environmental Protection Ageny, these guidelines are designed to protect the public with an adequate margin of safety against hearing loss from occupational and environmental noise exposures and against interference with speech or other activities indoors or outdoors in residential areas.
The Urban Noise Survey
August 1, 1977
Most of the existing social survey data base on community annoyance has been in character and has been concerned primarily with airport and highway related noise. An essential element in assessing the impact of noise in urban areas away from airports and highways is the evaluation of the attitudes of people concerning the noise in the residential environment. A social survey was conducted to sample opinion over the entire range of noise exposure and population density characteristics of non-rural America.The objective of the Urban Noise Survey was to develop a first order relationship between noise exposure and human response as a function of situational and attitudinal variables associated with the life styles of people in various urban environments. This survey differed from prior surveys in the general area of noise pollution in several important aspects: (1) it was specifically designed to study noise exposure not directly related to airport and highway sources; (2) the social survey was made in conjunction with simultaneous physical measurements of noise exposure at sites with widely different noise environments; (3) it was national rather than local in character and was addressed to a broad rather than narrow range of noise exposures and respondents' life styles. Some of the major conclusions are that: (a) exposure to noise typical of many urban (non-aircraft and non-highway) environments produces widespread annoyance, speech interference, and sleep disturbance; (b) a strong relationship was demonstrated between exposure level and the proportion of a community highly annoyed by noise; (c) the prevalence of speech interference is an especially good predictor of annoyance; (d) the number of complaints about noise is a poor predictor of the prevalence of annoyance; (e) demographic factors alone are relatively poor predictors of noise annoyance; (f) freedom from noise exposure is a component of a neighborhood satisfaction, and quiet is highly valued; (g) noises associated with automotive sources are the most pervasive sources of annoying noise in urban areas; (h) annoyance associated with intrusive noise sources may be related to measurable noise exposure from such sources, even when their magnitudes are not as great as the level of overall exposure in a community; (i) there is some evidence that human response to noise exposure at Ldn values in excess of 70 dB is more acute than at lower levels.