Scituate limits scope of wind-turbine study

Scituate’s Board of Health has decided on a narrow study of the town’s wind turbine, despite requests from residents for a broader analysis.

In a meeting Monday night, Board of Health officials said they were wary of undertaking an extensive study that would provide a more detailed sound analysis, as suggested by residents who say the turbine has harmed their health.

“The methodology will get challenged, results will be challenged, and I don’t know how to interpret results with an invented method,” said board member Michael Vazza.


Vazza recommended sticking with the turbine owner’s suggested analysis, which mainly will assess whether the power-generating equipment meets guidelines set by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection.

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Board members also declined to mandate a flicker study, which would look at health impacts from the flickering shadows created when the turbine’s blades rotate against the sun, or a survey asking residents whether they have noticed any health affects, both steps sought by neighbors.

Tom Thompson, who has represented the residents, citing problems from the turbine’s operation, said they anticipated the board’s decision. “This is an expected outcome . . . there is no surprise here that the Board of Health would simply embrace the strategy espoused by the wind developer,” he said.

Still to be determined is who will conduct the study. The residents and the turbine’s owner, Scituate Wind LLC, have brought several recommendations to the table, and Board of Health members said they’ll assess the candidates at a later meeting.

The board made its decision after a steering committee that had been appointed to recommend the scope of the study was unable to reach a consensus.

Jessica Bartlett can be reached at jessica.may.bartlett@