Many things are a question of taste, especially when it comes to music. What is agreeable to one person is nothing but a din to someone else. From a purely physical point of view, it is nothing more than sound, i.e. vibrating air. Whether or not sound is perceived negatively as “noise” depends on the context. Loud pop music can make us feel happy and excited when we’re going on vacation, but can be extremely annoying when we are trying to complete a complex task at work, potentially with a deadline looming. Or when we are trying to fall asleep at night. The issue becomes even more difficult when the sound does not come in the form of music, but rather industrial noise.
Thresholds Have to Be Observed
Industrial plants and small workshops can produce noise that has the potential to make us sick if it is not restricted to the applicable thresholds by means of con-struction measures or time limits. These thresholds are set out in the “Technical Instructions for Noise Protection” within the German Federal Emission Protection Act (BImSchG). Jürgen Hermann and Ilja Richter from the DEKRA Noise Measurement team are here to check whether the relevant thresholds are being observed. And they have brought an acoustic camera with them.
Hermann and Richter are at a quarry belonging to construction firm Lukas Gläser in Kirchberg-Zwingelhausen. On the huge site measuring some 50 hectares, shell-bearing limestone is collected and mined by means of blasting before being crushed to make stone chippings and gravel. The material is then processed at the company, which specializes in road building. The portfolio is rounded off with an asphalt mixing plant and the sale of larger natural rocks. The blasts, the stationary facilities and buildings (grinding and crushing plants, silos, conveyor belts), the mobile equipment such as giant loaders and dump trucks, and the back-and-forth of the trucks all generate constant noise.
The quarry in its current form has a permit from the authorities and complies with all requirements, as the boss’s son, Cersten Pfisterer, explains. “But the plan is now to expand the quarry by about 5.5 hectares, and we also want to build a new gravel plant. As it will be situated on higher ground than the current plant, this will result in a change to the noise pollution for residents of the three surrounding lo-calities of Zwingelhausen, Fürstenhof, and Großaspach.” And that is the reason why DEKRA specialists Hermann and Richter are here with their acoustic camera. They have been tasked with producing a highly accurate model of the anticipated noise pollution due to the expansion and the new gravel plant so that Lukas Gläser can plan suitable soundproofing measures.