“The Noise” update

See http://www.fairmountgeddes.net/quiet for an informational website about industrial noise in Fairmount, Geddes and Syracuse.

Update, April 29: As reported in the Post-Standard, Suez has taken steps and it appears the noise problem is resolved. I hadn’t heard it for the last several days and assumed that they had shut something down to look into it, but it turns out they ordered a replacement motor for a fan that wasn’t turning at the right speed, so that was the fix. I guess my original theory was sort of on the right track… there was something wrong at the plant which was “out of phase” and producing the oscillation which could not be heard at ground zero.

Suez should be commended for its quick resolution to the problem. Thanks to everyone in the neighborhood who spoke up! Industrial noise pollution is not our destiny…


Thanks to the legwork of some of the commenters below, the local media got on “The Noise” story somewhat today. Here’s a WSTM story about the status of the investigation into the Suez co-gen plant and its noise problems which have affected so many people in the Fairmount-Geddes-Tipperary Hill area (and beyond). The WSTM story has a link to a letter sent by Suez to the mayor of Solvay where they admit their equipment is causing a problem and say they will start a fuller investigation next week, naming May as a possible completion date.

I had been scheduled to do an interview with WSYR-TV about the noise on Monday, but the story was cancelled; but that’s OK because at this point the message to Suez would be that they needed to be more proactive about getting information out to the greater community. Part of the problem in communication is that this isn’t just a Village of Solvay issue but is in fact extending across parts of the towns of Camillus, Geddes, Onondaga and the city of Syracuse, and those folks don’t have a single mayor who can tell them about what’s going on. However, even this bit of media coverage should prove helpful and at least we’ve now got an answer on paper from the company.

One hopes this will get fixed before May. For now, though, “the beat goes on…”

(Original post is below the flip.)


Original post: Apropos of nothing: I see that discussion has started up again in Syracuse.com’s Neighbors West forum about “The Noise.” Since at least late December, Fairmount has been intermittently afflicted by a strange, deep, regular oscillating hum in the air (whoooom… whoooom… whoooom) that sounds to be coming from the general direction of Solvay. Sometimes it disappears for days, and then it comes back and hums day and night, sometimes loud enough to disrupt some people’s sleep. Solvay Paperboard has been accused, but they’ve denied having anything to do with it.

I have a theory that this is some piece of factory machinery that started malfunctioning somewhere and is producing sound waves that are getting magnified by interference, and maybe you don’t hear it until you’re miles away. (Or something. I’ve done my best to forget my high school physics.) Anyhow, there’s now two classes of people in the vicinity — people who are driven crazy by The Noise, and people who aren’t (or don’t even notice it).


Updated: The above was written some weeks ago; it’s since been determined that the culprit is the co-gen plant in Solvay (not Solvay Paperboard). They claim nothing has changed with their equipment, but the fact remains that lots of people suddenly started noticing this noise in recent months. Something has obviously changed, whether at the plant itself or in the local environment (perhaps something that blocked the long-distance transmission of the sound has been removed?)

A resident of the Fairmount (Sherwood Knolls) area has recorded the sound from her home. Here is a WAV file excerpt of her recording. (Her full recording is here.) There is some ambient background noise in this recording, but you can clearly hear the oscillations that have been driving folks crazy, especially at 10 seconds in when you can hear it quite loudly. It’s only heard briefly at full level in the recording, but that is an approximation of what the noise sounds like continually (not just for a few seconds) at its worst — usually late at night. Below is a wave analysis of the recording.

As you can see, this sound is not just “part of the normal background noise.” And it’s been bothering residents all over the west side, from Tipperary Hill to Howlett Hill, for months.

50 thoughts on ““The Noise” update

  1. Steve Balogh

    Funny you should bring this up today. I finally hauled my winter carcass down to the Solvay Town Hall today to speak to the Codes Enforcer about this noise pollution. (yes you can tell that I am one of the ones that can hear it)

    Two nights ago, I heard it, and once I did, could not get it out of my head. So I figured that’s enough of this bullsh*t (it’s been going on for months) and headed down to see if I could file a complaint.

    I was passed on from the Code Enforcer to the Solvay Chief of Police. He was a very nice man, and talked to me for about 10 mins to let me in on what he knows.

    Several people have filed complaints. They’ve pinpointed the sound to the cogen factory behind the cardboard recycling plant. The EPA has been notified by the Solvay Police department as well as the company itself.

    Apparently the company doesn’t feel that they are doing anything wrong, because they’ve been operating the smokestacks (the purported source of “the noise”) the same way since 1991. The Chief is going to meet with the Mayor of Solvay next tuesday and will be relaying the concerns to him. Like I said, he was real down to earth and seemed to be on the residents side – trying to get the issue solved. He also seemed to think that this was a code enforcement issue, but did note that if there was no response from the company to mitigate the problem that there were actions that the police could take (measuring decibel levels, etc.) as there is a noise ordinance on the books in the Village of Solvay. As I live in the Town of Geddes, but not in the village, he didn’t take a formal statement.

    This is one of those issues that you feel kind of dumb having to go to the police department to complain about. After all it is a just a noise. But if I had residential neighbors that were as loud as this noise is, and kept me up at night – I sure as hell would call the cops, so this issue should be no different. It is a quality of life issue, and thought it may be something you feel foolish complaining about, if it is affecting you, the only way to get action to fix it is to let someone know about it. Call your town hall or village hall and complain. Get it in the record. That way we can end this instead of having it drag on and on…

  2. Ellen

    I’d hate to hear what this sounds like closer to Solvay. I’ve NEVER heard that noise before and I can pinpoint exactly when I first heard it – the wee hours of the morning a couple days after Christmas. So I don’t know what they’re talking about they’ve been doing it since 1991. It actually woke me up when I first heard it.

    It doesn’t bother me so much any more, because I know that it STOPS. But because it happens at irregular times, you’d think someone at the plant would realize something is wrong with their equipment, or can correlate it to something they’re doing there. Some sort of documentation has to be made of when the noise starts and stops, that would probably be helpful.

  3. Juliana

    I have a theory that the noise may be coming from the construction site at Carousel Center. That is the only real “new” construction going on in the area on a large scale and it would have started around December. The Cogen factory has been around for a while, why would the noise have just started coming from their now?

  4. Joe O'Leary

    THANK YOU!!! I Googled “Tipp hill noise pollution” and “Solvay noise pollution”.. it brought me here.

    I have been hearing this for MONTHS now and it is driving me crazy. I live behind Colemans on Tennyson Ave. The noise is specifically a low level whooshing hum as described. I usually count it in fours. whoom whoom whoom whoom. Then it stops and comes back. It’s much more noticable at night (when I go to SLEEP)

    I am considering buying a house in Tipp Hill but if this continues I will certainly look elsewhere.

    Something needs to be done.

  5. Andy

    It is 7:50 AM on a snowy day and the noise is the loudest I have heard it since the first time sometime late in 2007. My theory is that the noise “goes away” when other daily noise picks up, hence people thinking that it stops at a certain time, and this still may be true. But the heavy wet snow has dampened the ambient daily noises of traffic and other things and that low end wrooming noise is very evident this morning. When I first heard it,[waking up around 2 AM one morning] I thought that it was something in my house, like the fridge compressor or something else. But when I could not find the cause, I went outside and found out it came from some other source. Nothing seems to prevent it from entering my home. About the best masking of it has come when a train goes by the Fairgrounds. I can even hear it above the hairdryer that my wife uses in the morning. Kind of annoying. PS. Sitting here typing this, I can still hear it.

  6. Ellen

    Andy… you are quite right that the sound seems to be somehow louder on snowy or wet days. I know other people have noticed that as well.

    It was loud last night and it went on through the morning.

    I’m trying to set up some kind of automatic reporting thing where people can just hop online and leave a note saying “I’m hearing it right now” – it would help in future complaints to have a log from various people in various locations.

  7. Mary

    I am keeping my own log regarding the noise. I also recorded the noise outside my window a few nights ago and emailed it to a friend of mine who agrees that it is definitely an audible resonating noise — that is NOT normal.

    His theory is it has something to do with smokestake resonance (like blowing into a soda bottle) and it will get louder at night and when it is cloudy. Which explains why the noise was really loud last night and has continued throughout this morning. Right now (as of 2:00 pm March 28th, 2008), the noise has abated somewhat from where I live (Sherwood Knolls).

    I agree, it is some form of industrial machinery malfunctioning. Obviously, the source of the noise knows there is a problem but seemingly is doing nothing to fix it. I guess we have to wait until the machinery finally breaks down or the smokestack finally topples. One can always dream.

  8. Barbara

    I heard it throughout last night and I’m hearing the noise right now. Its 3 p.m. Friday. I agree that its the loudest mostly when the air is still & the weather damp.

  9. Ellen

    Mary: Would you be interested in having your recording posted here on this blog? If so, drop me a line (my e-mail is at “Contact” up above).

  10. Andy

    Very funny Sean… I didn’t think about it before, but now that you mention it……….

    Mary.. that was an outstanding recording of the “noise”. It seems louder where you are. By the way, it is 8:35 AM SATURDAY and I can hear it. I live in Fairmount.

    Thanks for recording it

  11. Ellen

    Thank Mary – she’s the one who had the foresight and ability to record it! (I thought this noise couldn’t really be captured on audio, it’s like an all pervading drone…)

  12. sean

    supposedly the sound of an ent was pleasant … except when they were angry. so unless there are some angry ents in solvay, it ent them.

    this is probably relevent to nothing, but a woman moved into our neighborhood recently who asked if the noise didn’t drive us mad.

    what noise? we asked.

    the noise from corcoran at night! she replied.

    the high school is basically behind our house. if it hums, we’re so acclimated to it we don’t hear it. she says it drives her bananas. left me thinking about how much we hear that we don’t realize we hear.

    still, since everyone seems to hear the solvay sound, i don’t think this is the same kind of situation.


  13. Ellen

    I thought about that myself when the noise first was heard. I thought, Am I fomenting some kind of mass hysteria by mentioning it? Which is why I’m glad there is a recording… in a small way, that changes the game.

    I’m personally not being driven crazy by it, but I kind of want the plant to admit it’s their problem (if some people are considering moving, that is a problem!) and I also really would like to get to the scientific bottom of the mystery of why so many more people started hearing it in recent months. I am sure there is some other environmental factor contributing, not just the plant doing something new. (If people far away suddenly started hearing the Fairmount fire horn — the four blasts that people around here just live with as part of their lives, day and night, without complaint — I’d be at least curious to discover why.)

    As with trash pollution… the reason noise pollution is in our lives is because people just give up and accept it. I don’t have a lot of mental energy to spend on feeling enraged over this new noise, but all the same, I’d like it not to go unexamined…

  14. Andy

    Unfortunately, now that I KNOW its there, I listen for it and actually can hear it during the day. Like I said before, “day” noise of traffic and other noise that we hear all the time mask this new one. Don’t know if this new noise will also “disappear” after a fashion, but this morning, after midnight, it kept me awake for awhile. Also, don’t know if because it is now recognizable, it SEEMS louder the last few days and nights. With double pane windows and insulation, traffic going by on street is almost silent. [except when a car comes along with speaker bass maxed out]. But this sound is such a low frequency that it comes through the walls and windows with hardly any reduction. Because this seems to be new, there HAS to be a reason for it and possibly a solution for abatement. As for now, the why and what and where are a mystery that I would like to have solved. Has anyone thought about calling one of the local TV stations and see if they can find out?

  15. Gear Of Zanzibar

    It looks like the “hum” peaks at around 215 Hz. If memory serves that’s the frequency of sound produced by bones cracking and cartilage snapping, which may account for why some people find it so disturbing.

  16. Gear Of Zanzibar

    Er…I just realized how disturbing my knowledge of anatomical acoustics might be outside of it’s proper context. I once mixed sound on a horror film that featured lots of that kind of thing.

    I’m too lazy to do the Google-fu right now, but I believe there have been a number of papers published on this particular subject.

  17. Mary

    Like clockwork the noise started up again this morning (Thurs, April 3, 2008). It woke me out of a sleep at 5:30 am and I had my windows closed.

    Not that any cares, but per my “noise log” the past three weeks; I have determined that the noise runs Thursday through Sunday – mainly in the evening and morning hours.

    Kind of odd if the noise has always been here, that it doesn’t occur (or I CAN’T hear it) on Mondays, Tuesdays, or Wednesdays.

    Since the noise DOES bother me, the most logical option for me is to move. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life listening to the whump whump noise four days out of the week. Call me crazy, but I prefer a better quality of life in my old age.

    Oh well.

  18. Joe

    this is garbage. I tried to file a complaint with the EPA. They referred me to local law enforcement which referred me to the DEC and they said “why did they refer you to us?”. and then went on to say “industrial factories DO make noise”


    Seems nobody wants to hear about noise complaints

    I was considering purchasing a home in Tipp Hill.. not anymore. I’ll be looking elsewhere (east side).

    It’s really unfortunate that the quality of life for citizens of Syracuse isn’t much aof a priority.

  19. Mary

    I agree Joe.

    But what can you do? No one cares. Everyone thinks we’re crazy anyway, as I sit hear listening to the whump whump noise seeping in my bedroom. It started last night at 7:30 pm (April 5th) and is still whumping away at 5:30 am (April 6th).

    I guess DEC does not think it is odd the industrial noise “all of a sudden” is heard in residential areas miles away from the plant. Strange that the noise seems to only occur (per my records) Thursday-Sunday (on average).

    Anyway, yet again I wore ear plugs to bed last night to drown out the noise. Very uncomfortable to say the least. But like you said Joe, the quality of life for the citizens of Syracuse isn’t much of a priority for the powers that be.

    As I have stated on the Syracuse.com forum about the noise, most people don’t hear it because their house is constantly filled with noise (24/7/365 — TVs, radios, cell phones, computers run all day and night). Noise pollution is just not a big deal for the average American.

    I agree you shouldn’t buy a house in the west side of Syracuse. I will be moving this year too. There are other places to live where you are not subjected to industrial noise pollution.

  20. Barbara

    Its Sunday 4/5. The noise was especially loud during the night. Louder than ever I think. I Even though I now fall asleep with earphones & music playing I could still detect it during the music change pauses.

    Its a mystery as to why we’re now hearing the sound even though Suez says its been running its plant the same way for years. Could it be atmospheric pressure acting on those steam stacks that is causing this amplified “blowing in a soda bottle noise”? I wonder if they might have changed any part of those vents or made changes to the turbines used. I can’t get around the explanation of something which previously blocked it being removed (i.e. trees or buildings) to be the cause of this new direction of sound distribution.

    Maybe we should call our expert Storm Team Weather School Professor Dave Eichorn to explain to us exactly how atmospheric conditions affect sound.
    Whatever…. Just a wild guess.

    As to guessing why Solvay-ites don’t seem to be bothered by a noise so close & so hideous is a whole other mystery. ?

  21. Beth

    I also hear the noise on the west side of Syracuse (Winkworth area). Last Friday night it was continuous and could be heard clearly in my house even with all the windows shut. I opened the window and determined that the noise is not as clear as when surrounded by other outdoor noise. So, it appears the noise is more a vibration, that seems to go through the house in an oscillating matter.

    Most people cannot hear the noise because it requires a quiet interior to hear the vibrating thump. Since most people, for some reason, sleep with the tv or radio on, the noise blends in.

    I’m going to contact Channel 9 TV station “Your Stories” to see if they can look into it.

  22. Ellen

    I think a big clue that this noise has a lot to do with atmospherics or something else in the physical environment, came early this morning (for me anyway) when I could hear it, but at a far far fainter level than usual. It was almost unnoticeable, but still going on.

    So the plant was still making the noise as usual, but it was very much muffled this morning (at least where I was). No doubt this is a temporary change. (we’ll see … it’s been conspicuously quiet the last couple days)

    But the question remains… WHY the dramatic increase in sound level for so many outlying areas starting at the end of 2007? What has changed? Did somebody knock down a building or cut down some trees in Solvay that used to absorb the sound or redirect the sound waves?

  23. Ellen

    Just a little update/observation: I happened to be down on Milton Ave in Solvay on the way home today… saw and heard the co-gen plant for myself. yuck, would hate to live with that all the time. However by the time I got to Milton and 173, I noticed the noise was no longer audible. Either they just aren’t as loud right at the moment, or the wind is just favorable lately.

  24. Mary

    Like clockwork the noise starts up on Thursday!


    Nope, I do not believe it is an atmospheric issue, it is definitely a man-made issue. Per my noise log — I only hear the whump whump noise Thursday – Monday mornings. See below:

    Noise Log Time started Time Ended

    Sat 3/22/08 12:00 AM 6:30 AM
    Sun 3/23/08 12:00 AM 5:30 AM
    Thu 3/27/08 9:30 AM 11:59 PM
    Fri 3/28/08 12:00 AM 9:00 PM
    Sat 3/29/08 1:30 AM 9:30 AM
    Sun 3/30/08 2:30 AM 5:00 PM
    Thu 4/3/08 5:30 AM 9:00 AM
    Fri 4/4/08 5:00 AM 10:30 AM
    Sat 4/5/08 7:30 PM 11:59 PM
    Sun 4/6/08 12:00 AM 11:59 PM
    Mon 4/7/08 12:00 AM 10:30 AM
    Thur 4/10/08 7:30 PM

    So in my warped mind, the plant is running a piece of equipment only on Thursdays through Sundays that is causing the noise to be heard miles away.

    Not that anyone cares — looks like Channel 9 news (see their online page “Your Stories” section) has more important stories to report on — such as a grammar error on one construction sign.

    Oh well, on with the ear plugs until Monday morning. What a pleasure it is living on the west side. (sarcasm intended). Grrr…

  25. Mary

    Here I am at 2:30 am (April 11), wide awake from the whump whump noise seeping through my closed windows into my stuffy bedroom.

    I just sent an email to WTVH, WIXT, WSYR and News10 Now asking them to address the industrial noise pollution. I pointed them to this blog, the Syracuse.com neighbors west forum posts and the article on Syracuse.com published about the noise back in February.

    Hopefully, they will find it “newsworthy” enough to get back to me and report on this noise pollution that runs Thursday through Monday.

    But knowing Syracuse, I won’t hold my breathe. Ugh, yet another sleepless four nights. I may be forced to sleep in the basement (God I hope the noise doesn’t seep through concrete and dirt).

  26. Barbara

    I spoke to a person in the Solvay Mayor’s office this morning who is very aware of the noise herself and is just as annoyed with it as we all are.

    She told me that Suez is working with the mayor’s office to solve this. They recently made a modification to their equipment and believe that is what is causing this abnormal amplified reverberation. They are working with engineers to locate and repair it which they expect to happen very soon.

  27. Mary

    Well said about the lack of communication. The reason I went to the news is because there was NO news or press release about the noise (except that blurb on Syracuse.com on Feb 28th) – from any news outlet or government office.

    I’m sorry but I don’t agree with the Solvay mayor that residents need to relax and give Suez time to fix the problem. If the mayor of Solvay was having “private” talks with Suez about the noise problem — and he KNEW they were finally getting around to research it on April 8th — the mayor should have issued a press release to the Syracuse news media on April 8th. He should have known, as you stated, it is NOT only a Solvay issue. IN fact as the mayor stated, the noise is heard much louder the farther from Solvay that you live.

    Anyway, I don’t know if I have much faith that Suez will ever get around to fixing the noise from their “modified” fan. Supposedly they were working on the issue in February (when that news article on Syracuse.com was published) but come to find out by April 8th (the date of their letter to the mayor) they still haven’t pinpointed the problem and have to hire a professional engineer to help them out (I think that is a bit odd, my brother is a mechanical engineer and he states he believes it is a simple resonance problem — with something being loose in the duct work).

    Strange that the Suez plant quieted down on Friday afternoon/night into Saturday when the news media was there, but the noise started back up again on Saturday night into this morning (Monday April 14th). Seems Suez can control the noise issue, and the use of their “modified” fan when they choose to.

    Oh well, yet another two uncomfortable sleepless nights (Saturday 4/12, Sunday 4/13) for me, maybe we will have a reprieve these next three nights (as it seems the noise only runs Thurs – Sun).

    Thank God I will be out of town the next eight days. Finally I can get some decent sleep, far away from the noise.

    Keep up the good work, Ellen. I have a feeling this issue hasn’t been truly solved.

  28. Beth

    Up all night with the noise in Winkworth (city of Syracuse). It was unbelievable last night. I cannot believe that no one can hear it. The Mayor of Syracuse lives just down the street from me and I can’t believe he doesn’t hear the noise. And unlike the Mayor of Solvay, he doesn’t have a vested interest in keeping this story quiet (or maybe he does, all politicians are in bed together).

    I’m going to call the Syracuse noise ordinance hotline this morning and complain. That action should be about as useful as the TV news story.

    If anyone believes this noise will ever go away, he or she is living in a fantasy world. There is absolutely NO INCENTIVE for Suez to fix anything. Plus, only those losers who live on the west side of Syracuse are the ones that can hear it. As long as it’s not in Fayetteville!

  29. Bob

    The letter from Suez states that modifications to a fan in November 2007 caused the problem.

    I’ve been bothered by the noise since April 2007.

    BC, Howlett Hill

  30. Mary

    As usual the noise whumped all last night. Here is contact info for Suez.

    Please feel free to contact them and speak to a Dave Braunitzer, he is keeping track of the complaints and he brings the complaints up in Suez’s morning production/management meetings. I spoke to him this morning (April 15th) and he said they were working on fixing the noise.

    I recommend people call Suez to keep them on their toes until this problem is fixed.

    Syracuse Energy Corporation

    56 Industrial Drive

    Syracuse, NY 13204

    Tel: 315.487.4473 Fax: 315.487.4477

    The Syracuse cogeneration facility burns low sulfur coal and alternate fuel. The alternate fuel consumed reduces landfill consumption by 35,000 tons a year. The electricity that is generated by the facility meets the energy needs of 40,000 homes and adds approximately $13 million per year into the Syracuse economy.

    QUICK FACTS: InService Date September 1991 Percent Ownership 100% FuelPrimary Fuel Secondary Bituminous Coal Alternate Fuel, #2 Fuel Oil, Natural Gas, Biogas Resource Type Base Load Electric MW Steam Equivalent MW 90 MW (net) 95 MW @ 950,000 pph Electric Customer Steam Customers New York Independent System Operators General Chemical Solvay Paperboard

  31. Barbara

    Good work Mary! Thanks for all your information and lead to fix that insufferable nuisance. We will be vigilant for sure. As for myself I’m going to try to stay positive that Suez will be as well.

  32. Lida

    I saw the article in this morning’s paper – it was the first I’d heard of this. I’m in Liverpool and don’t hear your noise, but I can really sympathize with you as we had a similar problem a few years ago. Ours was a constant, very low threshold hum – much more noticeable at night than in the daytime. Some of us in the neighborhood could hear it; some couldn’t. I was looking into who to complain to when one day it just stopped. We found out a few months later that at the new P&C warehouse a few miles west of us, the 100’s of trucks coming and going at all hours of the day had been sitting with their engines idling while loading or waiting to load. When P&C figured out how much gas and money would be saved if they turned them off, they ordered that to be done. If anyone ever wants to put in a truck stop near you – fight it!

  33. Kelly

    Thank you for posting this! I only just found out about this blog but have been hearing the noise since at least Dec 2007! It drives me craziest at night when I am going to bed. At first I thought I was crazy, then I thought my neighbors were being loud, and then I decided something must be wrong in my own house. I have spent many nights wandering around my bedroom trying to figure out where this noise was coming from! We live on Tipp Hill and I hope that something can be done to stop this annoying sound that keeps me awake at night!

  34. Beth

    It’s 3:30am. The noise is back. It’s worse than ever at my house in Winkworth. The problem is not fixed. Suez needs to shut down its malfunctioning fan and start over again. The noise is driving me insane and if Suez cannot fix it, then maybe the plant itself should shut down. The few people the plant employs does not make up for the noise pollution that affects tens of thousands.

  35. Mary

    I guess I spoke too soon regarding the noise problem being solved. As of 1:30 am this morning (Friday 5/2/08) I have been hearing a hum coming and going in waves. It is not as irritating as the initial noise was with its “whump whump” but it is there nonetheless, and it goes through walls and closed windows.

    Oh well, I’m tired of fighting over it. I will wear ear plugs for now on until I move, which I hope will be by the end of this year.

  36. Ellen

    I heard a distant hum that didn’t last very long, but it didn’t remind me of “The Noise” – it reminded me of the sort of highway noise from 690 that you occasionally hear from time to time.

  37. Ellen

    OK, now I hear what Beth and Mary are talking about. I think Suez has not completely solved the problem, although I have to say the sound is far less irritating than it was and easier to mentally tune out. It is no longer an incessant throbbing sound (the quality that annoyed people most) but more of a drifting hum that comes and goes.

    I think Suez has acted in good faith… but either is still working on adjustments to the fan, or is unaware the noise is continuing in some form… If you are hearing it and find it still disturbing, you have to call to inform them, sooner than later. I don’t think they would want to spend $200K on a piece of equipment that may not be working – or, the equipment may just need an adjustment.

    I do think the situation has been much improved (as of Saturday morning), but I can understand where some may not be entirely satisfied.

  38. Beth

    The noise is continuous since they “supposedly” fixed it. I can hear it right now humming away. Last night it was loud at times. I have called Suez and no one returned my call.

    The noise will NEVER be fixed. Too much money and too many people not caring and knowing what they’re doing. Oh well, guess I have to move as well.

    I can’t believe only Mary, Ellen and I can hear the noise on the entire west side. Where are all you people! Speak up!

  39. Mary

    I called Suez again this morning (5/9/08) at 3:30 am because the constantly humming noise has been particularly loud. In fact I recorded the new noise a couple nights ago — to verify I’m NOT crazy — it actually DOES exist.

    I spoke to a “Chuck” who stated they have received complaints about the constant humming (his mom lives in Solvay and hears it). Supposedly they have an engineer coming in to look at the problem yet again.

    I left my name and number for Dave Braunitzer who I spoke to about the original whump whump noise problem.

    For anyone else out there on the west side who hears and is bothered by the new constant humming noise (especially at 3:00 am which seems to be when it is the loudest) — you need to call Suez and file a complaint – 315-487-4473.

    The more complaints they get, the quicker they will act to solve the problem.

    Should anyone care, I’ll keep this board posted with updates of my dealings with Suez regarding the noise pollution problem.

  40. Mary

    I swear by all that is holy, I can’t be the only one hearing the constant humming noise. I went to bed at 9:30 pm (Monday 5/12/08) and of course the humming was hum hum humming away outside.

    Being a trooper, I figured I would pop in my ear plugs and hopefully be asleep within an hour.

    It is now 1:00 am (Tues 5/13/08) and the noise is still humming away outside (coming at one minute intervals), through my ear plugs and closed windows.

    I swear it can’t be just me. Is ANYONE else hearing the noise outside tonight?

    OK, an update on the continuing noise saga. I emailed good ‘ol Dave at Suez Monday morning 5/12/08 and asked him about the status of the fix regarding the new humming noise.

    Nothing. No email, no phone call.

    Okey, dokey. Suez is getting on my nerves. Tonight the noise is extremely loud, so I yet again recorded it. I had my brother listen to it (he is a mechanical engineer) and he is going to email good ‘ol Dave at Suez the new recording with his suggestions about what the problem could be.

    Will Suez give a flying [bleep] about my recording and my brother’s suggestions?

    Hell no.

    Hey, if I was a corporation who only had two people regularly complaining about a noise coming from one of my plants — I wouldn’t do anything about it either.

    So here is the deal. Since it seems I am super sensitive to this humming noise, and since the humming noise is never going to go away — does anyone have any suggestions on how I can cancel out the noise on my end?

    Ear plugs don’t work. Neither does closing the windows, or “white noise.”

    People reading this in Camillus, what are you doing to cancel out the humming noise?

    I suppose over time like all torture I will just get used to it.

    Or not. Who needs sleep anyway?

  41. Barbara

    Mary, you are not the only one who’s hearing it. I’m thinking about calling my district representative today. He might have some ideas on where to turn next because apparently the Solvay Mayor’s office doesn’t care enough & Suez may be turning a deaf ear to us. Certainly they have done that to their damn noisy equipment!

  42. Mary

    Tonight, I was dreaming of wading on the shore of Oneida Lake — and in my dream I told my brother “hear that constant loud humming noise — that is from Suez.”

    Lo and behold I woke up from my dream to the sound of the REAL constant humming noise penetrating my closed windows and ear plugs at 11:30 pm Friday, May 23rd.

    Here I am wide awake once again listening to the wonderful noise pollution from a plant five miles away.


    But it doesn’t surprise me that the noise is once again humming away, as per my noise log — it only happens on third shift and Thurs – Tues:

    Fri 4/25/08- 2:00 AM – 7:30 AM

    Thur 5/8/08- 9:00 PM – 11:59 PM

    Fri 5/9/08- 12:00 AM – 8:30 AM, 8:00 PM – 11:59 PM

    Sat 5/10/08- 12:00 AM – 7:30 AM, 10:00 PM – 11:59 PM

    Sun 5/11/08- 12:00 AM – 8:30 AM, 9:00 PM – 11:59 PM

    Mon 5/12/08- 12:00 AM – 9:30 AM, 9:30 PM – 11:59 PM

    Tues 5/13/08 – 12:00 AM – 10:00 AM

    Thurs 5/15/08- 10:00 PM – 11:59 PM

    Fri 5/16/08- 12:00 AM – 10:00 AM, 11:00 PM – 11:59 PM

    Sat 5/17/08- 12:00 AM – 6:00 AM

    Thurs 5/22/08- 12:30 AM – 5:00 AM

    Fri 5/23/08- 11:30 PM – 11:59 AM

    Sat 5/24/08- 12:00 AM – FOREVER AND EVER!

    Hmmmm…I wonder if Suez is doing a process during the third shift that they don’t do on average during the first and second shift?

    Hmmm…I wonder if it has anything to do with their coal processing equipment instead of that bogus “fan” story they told the media and all us yahoos who have to listen to the noise pollution?

    Hmmm…I wonder if someone from Suez did not call the media him/herself anonymously and state Suez knows about the noise problem but is not going to fix the problem because it is going to cost them much more than their supposed $200,000 fan which supposedly fixed the whump whump noise?

    Hmmmm…by the way — where is the story Matt Michael was supposed to write this week about the new constant humming noise pollution from Suez?

    I haven’t seen it yet, perhaps I missed it?

    Looks like I’ll be setting up camp down on Milton Ave in front of good ‘ol Suez on Monday, June 2nd to picket.

    Suez is a blight on the community and should be shut down.

    Of course that will never happen, because no one cares and that includes the DEC, Mayor of Solvay and the Solvay Police.

    Isn’t Suez lucky it has been a cold May, so I doubt anyone has had their windows open at night. But then again, what is a little noise pollution to keep us (OK me) awake?

    Pish posh…

    Thank God I’m moving. Suez can keep its humming and the west side can take it up the [you know what] and like it.

  43. Mary

    It’s now May 25th and the noise is humming away so loud, it is reverberating my windows.

    I tried to be a real trooper and went to bed with my windows closed and ear plugs on Sat. night around 10:30 pm. I woke up at 2:00 am this morning (Sun.) sweating because my room was stuffy from lack of fresh air.

    Oh the horror. Being an insane freak that I am I decided to open the windows just a crack — KNOWING — full well I would then be hearing the noise full blast.

    So here I am wide awake as usual listening to the reverberating continual humming noise coming from the Suez/Solvay paperboard area — five miles from my house.

    I wish that low flying plane would have crashed into Suez/Solvay Paperboard. Obviously Suez isn’t doing a damn thing to fix it as it is now May 25th and they were supposed to have it fixed by the end of May.

    I wonder if by June 1st the noise will magically disappear?

    You think?

    One can always dream about magic pixie dust to solve this noise problem.

    Of course we ALL KNOW Suez would never lie. They would never blow smoke up the west side’s collective [you know what].


    I’ll say it again, Suez/Solvay paperboard is doing something on the third shift (something with their broken coal processing equipment), Thurs-Tues that is causing this loud continual humming noise. They know about it, and are not going to fix it because — well they don’t have to fix it — because it wasn’t in their original building permit. (whatever that means per the NY DEC clowns).

    Maybe that newspaper article following up on the noise by Matt Michael will be in the paper today?

    Let me get my magic pixie dust…

  44. Barbara

    I don’t plan to post about this anymore on the Neighbors West forum because people there apparently are not hearing what we’re hearing and/or they have turned a deaf ear to the noise & us. I vented there since last January. Enough.

    I have not been hearing the current sound of resonant droning 24/7 as I did the hideous whumping (before Suez’ so-called repair). The most recent torture was last Friday night. I called Suez then, at 1AM, but I have an uncomfortable feeling the information they took from me was promptly put into File 51 – the trash can. I assume that any messages left on bigwig’s voice mail will be promptly deleted too.

    This is an environmental noise pollution problem. I’m ignoring what the DEC said about Suez not having anything in their building permit about noise. That is neither here nor there. If Suez thinks they are obeying their local town noise ordinance, they are still *not* obeying the federal government’s (EPA) Quiet Communities Act. The DEC is required to enforce EPA’s laws since EPA has handed noise problems over to the State and its local governments years ago. One would hope the NYS DEC is aware of this!

    I’ve contacted my town councilman who said we definitely should have contacted him in the first place. He wants to be kept updated but until many more people come forward by adding their addresses on the “noise” map (of which NYCO has an email address specifically for) he’s not going to have much to go on.

    And I think obtaining signed petitions is another good way to get evidence but I cannot physically walk (due to a chronic pain condition) around my neighborhood to get signatures. I have talked to some of my neighbors (here in Fairmount Hills) and only a couple have actually heard what I’m talking about. Most are not situated in as high a position as my house & bedroom are and some probably are insulated better than my home is.

    Just because I do not hear it regularly anymore does not mean I’ve stopped caring. And I believe others think likewise.


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