Noise Abatement Study


Noise Abatement Study - Natural Gas Exploration Activities

Natural gas exploration activities (drilling, fracking, production, etc.) are required to meet specific noise limitations and must demonstrate that the proposed activity will comply with local noise standards. This demonstration, called a noise abatement study, must be conducted by a qualified noise consultant/engineer approved in advanced by the City’s Public Health and Environmental Quality Department Director.

All proposed natural gas drilling operations will require the submittal of a noise abatement study at the time of permit application. Prior to the initiation of a noise abatement study, the approved noise consultant/engineer will be required to schedule a meeting with designated the Public Health and Environmental Quality Department staff to review the proposed noise abatement study development plan. During this meeting, the consultant should be prepared to provide detailed information on their plans for the collection of the ambient noise data and the subsequent development of noise abatement study.

The study must contain at a minimum the following:

(1) A description of the proposed facility/operation.

(2) A determination of the ambient noise level utilizing a noise survey of a minimum of 72 hours (including at least 24-hrs over a weekend).

(3) An analysis of any significant sources of the noise, including noise that will be generated during the drillingfracking, and operational phases of the drill site. This analysis must include a comparison of the potential noise generation with the applicable noise standards. The study must contain a statement from the consultant that the exploration activities will meet the noise standards, or if not, then what modifications are needed to insure compliance.

(4) An analysis of the any abatement measures necessary to bring the proposed facility into compliance with the City’s noise standards. If the analysis indicates that abatement measures are required to meet the standards, then the applicant must submit a detailed plan that describes the specific measures that will be utilized. This shall include product information and a location diagram. All soundproofing shall comply with accepted industry standards. The abatement measures shall be installed prior to the commencement of any drilling activities.

(5) Any information required to comply with the special noise requirements for Protected Use Adjacency (see below).

(6) Any other items required by the City’s Public Health and Environmental Quality Department Director.

Noise standards for natural gas drilling operations are listed in Chapter 13, Article 19 of the City’s Code of Ordinances. This handout’s purpose is to serve only as guidance. Please refer to the actual ordinances for the specific requirements. Copies of the ordinances may be viewed online.

Special Noise Requirements for Protected Use Adjacency

All drilling operations within 1,000 feet of any protected use shall be required to comply with the following additional requirements:

(1) Noise blankets (minimum height of 30 feet) must be installed on any drill pad boundaries facing any protected use within 1,000 feet.

(2) Noise blankets must be installed on the:

  • Rig substructure
  • Rig floor area
  • Brake drum housings and pumps
  • Mud pumps
  • Diesel motors and generators

(3) All internal combustion engines or compressors (stationary or mounted on wheels) must be equipped with a hospital grade muffler or equivalent control device.

(4) Exterior noise levels shall be continuously monitored to ensure compliance. Noise readings shall be submitted to the inspector on a daily basis in an electronic format or other format specified by the inspector.

(5) The noise abatement study shall include a detailed site plan showing the location of the boundary noise reduction blankets and rig layout diagram detailing the location of all other noise reduction blankets, “hospital” grade mufflers, and any other noise reduction equipment. This site plan shall indicate the location of all protected uses within 1,000 feet, the location of the ambient noise data collection points, and the proposed location of the continuous noise monitoring equipment.

(6) During nighttime operations, the operation of vehicle audible back-up alarms shall be prohibited or replaced with approved non-auditory signaling systems, such as spotters or flagmen. Deliveries of pipe, casing and heavy loads shall be limited to daytime hours, except for emergency situations. The Derrick Man and Driller shall communicate by walked-talkie or other non-disruptive means only with the Derrick Man is in the derrick. Horns may not be used to signal for connection or to summon crew (except that a horn may be used for emergency purposes only). The operator shall conduct onsite meetings to inform all personnel of nighttime operations noise control requirements.

Noise standards (permitted increase over ambient) for all natural gas drilling operations (compliance measured at the nearest protected use receiver’s/receptor’s property line or one hundred (100) feet from the nearest protected use structure, whichever is closer to the receiver/receptor.)

dB (A)
dB (A)
DAY + 5 + 10
NIGHT + 3 Fracking Prohibited

Note 1: Within 1,000 feet of a protected use – if during nighttime hours, the ambient noise level plus 3 dB (A) exceeds 58 dB (A), then the limit shall be the ambient noise level.

Note 2: Backflow operations may not exceed the ambient noise level by more than 5 dB (A) during nighttime hours.