Heartland 101

JULY 2024

Regional Noise Model Updated to Show Industrial Heartland’s Noise Footprint

An online tool to view regional noise outputs in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland was recently updated which allows users to zoom in and out of specific locations. The Regional Noise Model (RNM), which is publicly available on the Northeast Capital Industrial Association’s (NCIA) website, was developed following a first-of-its-kind noise management effort implemented in 2013.

Anyone can look at the overall noise picture or zoom in to learn the decibel outputs of individual plants and three-dimensional buildings on a site. Users can customize their view of the model to include noise footprints from road traffic (based on information from the Government of Alberta) and rail traffic (based on information from CN and CP)*.

To populate the model, participating facilities work with a noise consultant to develop a site noise model. Site models are then combined into one regional model to show the environmental noise footprint in the region. The model can predict noise levels up to five kilometers from a noise source (i.e., an industrial facility). The accuracy of the model is evaluated each year by conducting 24-hour noise measurements at 12 pre-selected locations in the region. Both the Alberta Energy Regulator and Alberta Utilities Commissions use the tool as part of the approval process for new or modified facilities in the region.

NCIA Executive Director, Patrick Howe, describes the model as serving a dual purpose. “Not only does the model give the public insight into noise levels in their community, it’s also a tool for our 22 member organizations to monitor and manage noise levels at their facilities.  This was a comprehensive update of the model and we are quite pleased with the strong correlation between the field measured data and what the model predicts.”

Several NCIA member site level noise models were updated and included in this RNM update, along with facilities (NCIA and non-NCIA) that were not included in the previous 2018 RNM. A listing of these changes can be found in the 2024 Regional Noise Management Report.

“The publicly available model is interesting for those who live in the region who want to get an idea of how these types of regional effects are managed,” says Howe. The noise model shows typical noise levels for each facility but assumes that all equipment is running all the time at full capacity. Therefore, the model predicts slightly more noise than would normally be experienced.

For more information about NCIA and its initiatives, visit ncia.ab.ca.

*Levels for mainline road and rail are provided to complete the information about environmental noise in the region. NCIA and its member companies do not control those noise sources.

Noise Model

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