Have You Heard? Compressor Stations Are Quieter Than People Talking

November 4, 2016


Safety, environmental protection, and neighbor satisfaction are three of PennEast’s highest priorities, and this includes reducing noise disturbance to the greatest extent possible.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), as well as other federal, state and local agencies, strictly regulates noise levels for compressor stations.

Inside a compressor station, it is noisy; however, compliance with FERC’s strict regulations regarding sound is a must. FERC requires that sound must not exceed 55 dBA day-night average sound level (Ldn) at any pre-existing noise-sensitive areas (e.g., residential land use, school, church, hospital or other qualifying noise-sensitive area type). State-of-the-art sound-proofing technology allows us to achieve this.

As illustrated in the graphic below, a library is approximately 30 dBA, a dishwasher operating in the next room or a large business office is roughly 55 dBA, normal speech at 3 feet is approximately 65 dBA, and a vacuum cleaner at 10 feet is around 70 dBA.
With respect to PennEast’s compressor station, existing outdoor noise levels at the nearest noise-sensitive area are expected to increase by only 1 dBA. This modest rise – which generally would be considered an imperceptible difference by most listeners having healthy human hearing – is due to the noise-sensitive area distances from the station, the existing background sound that is dominated by Interstate 80 roadway traffic noise, and from the use of insulating sound-proofing technology.

Further, in FERC’s draft Environmental Impact Statement for the PennEast Pipeline Project, FERC found that, “construction and operation of the Project would not result in significant noise impacts on residents and the surrounding environment.”

For an overview of federal and state air quality regulations, operational emissions, cumulative impacts, existing noise levels, project noise analysis and related issues, please see Resource Report 9, available via the “Official Filings” page, of PennEast’s September 2015 application to FERC.