Study will exam how noise pollution affects San Pedro, Port of Los Angeles and their surroundings.
SAN PEDRO — The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners approved port staff’s request to transfer $105,270 from the Port Community Mitigation Trust Fund to finance a noise assessment study in accordance with the requirements of TraPac Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
This noise assessment was at least partially inspired by a similar noise study completed in Wilmington in 2012. The study in Wilmington successfully identified and found solutions to the city’s noise levels, especially in relation to the industrial port operations.
A Nov. 7 Executive Director’s Report to the Board of Harbor Commissioners stated, “The study assessed noise levels at schools and residences within those portions of Wilmington most likely affected by Port operations.”
Funds unspent from the Wilmington Noise Assessment will be utilized, according to San Pedro’s Noise Assessment Study.
There are several tasks outlined in drafting this study. Task 1 will identify seven potential community areas in San Pedro most affected by noise pollution; the following duties, noise measurements, development of noise impact criteria, mapping and identification of the noise impacts will be recorded.
Moving forward with the study, there are several factors that will be taken into account, including consistency with the TraPac MOU and the Tidelands Trust, whether the noise impact is indeed attributed to Port or Port-related operations, if the proposed project can reasonably address, reduce, or eliminate the noise issues, the budget is appropriate and the substantial contracts are approved.
Once these criteria are met, there will then be a path to resolve any problems related to noise pollution if the findings show there is an amount of noise beyond a comfortable level. In the Wilmington Noise Assessment, for example, a chart measuring sound levels was used to determine livable amounts of noise. Beginning at the threshold of hearing, the chart continued to list moderately loud noises (sounds from a freeway) to beyond uncomfortably loud noises such as a military jet aircraft take-off with after-burner from aircraft carrier.
Among the Wilmington Noise Assessment findings, it was concluded that port-associated trains and trucks operating on residential streets seemed to generate the most noise. The loudest source of noise associated with port operations was found to be train horns, which interfered with daily routines at schools and urban neighborhoods.
Donna Ethington, a resident of Wilmington and former chair of the Wilmington Council Transportation Committee, has seen the effects of the Wilmington Noise Assessment. While Ethington said noise in Wilmington is dependent on where a person lives. The Port’s activity has been pinned as especially loud, but Ethington states “for an industrial port, it’s actually pretty quiet.”
Wilmington has presented solutions to decrease the noise, Ethington stated.
“About the only thing we can do about the train noise is to put up sound barriers between rail lines and neighborhoods, and there is a Wilmington Control Ordinance, which prohibits container yards in residential areas,” Ethington told The Log.
“If the Department of Building and Safety would enforce it [regulations], we wouldn’t have a problem.” Ethington continued.
Photo credit: Parimal M. Rohit