Methods for the assessment of low-frequency noise from mining activities in the Netherlands



According to the World Health Organisation, noise ranks among the environmental stressors with the highest impact on public health. The contribution of low-frequency noise (LFN) is not well-understood and deserves more research attention from several perspectives, that include epidemiology, acoustics as well as civil engineering. The attribution of symptoms to LFN is increasing due to a growth in public awareness and the expansion of industrial installations and traffic. In the Netherlands, numbers of LFN-related complaints are rising. Several of those have been attributed to the mining industry. However, an effective methodology for the assessment of such complaints is not yet available.

In this presentation, methods are defined to assess LFN from mining activities in the Netherlands, focusing on the extraction, processing, transportation and storage of gas, salt and geothermal heat. Through a literature review and interviews with domain experts, methodologies have been derived with regards to 1) the prediction of LFN generation at the source, 2) observational techniques and 3) potential impacts on health. A broad low-frequency band is considered, spanning from the often-discarded infrasonic frequencies to up to 200 Hz. Based on this study’s results, recommendations are given for establishing a standard procedure to assess LFN produced by mining activities.