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Cardiff Substation Sound Level Modeling

Acoustics experts model the impact of substation expansion and create a plan to reduce noise levels by 40-50 percent.

  • Transformers and other substation equipment surrounded by trees and vegetation - Gannett Fleming.

    Baseline sound level measurements were taken inside the substation and at multiple perimeter locations.

  • Image from the computer model shows colored areas indicating sound levels around the substation - Gannett Fleming.

    A computer model was used to predict future noise impacts and analyze sound barrier options.

Client
Pepco Holdings, Inc./Atlantic City Electric Company
Location
Cardiff, New Jersey
Our Role
Acoustics, Noise Barrier Design.
Data
Completed:
2017
Duration:
6 months
Outcomes
  • Proposed noise reduction plan specifies the height, length, and layout of sound barriers
  • Mitigation ensures future substation expansion will comply with noise ordinances
  • New sound barriers are projected to decrease noise levels by 40-50 percent.

Atlantic City Electric Company (ACE) owns and operates the Cardiff Substation in Atlantic County, New Jersey. The existing Cardiff Substation has multiple transformers, capacitor banks, and one Static Var Compensator. ACE wanted to ensure that existing and future sound levels at the substation conform to the Egg Harbor Township noise ordinance and are below the maximum permissible criteria.

ACE plans to expand the substation in the future by adding a new transformer on its south side. Because enlarging the plant may create concerns for the surrounding neighborhoods, ACE turned to Gannett Fleming for help in analyzing and mitigating the potential noise impact to the community.


What We Did

In order to a establish baseline, Gannett Fleming measured sound levels inside the substation and at multiple locations around the perimeter. Acoustic engineers took overall A‚Äźweighted measurements and 1/3 octave bands at eight locations in the vicinity of the closest residential property lines surrounding the Cardiff Substation. Engineers entered the data into a state-of-the-art computer model to show the current sound levels of the substation when operating at full load and maximum capacity.

Next, the team analyzed the impact of expanding the substation and adding a new transformer to its south end by incorporating additional information into the model. Engineers obtained source sound levels for the planned new equipment from ACE and used that information to determine operational noise. Team members also analyzed topography and ground effects for the project area. Acoustics experts worked with power engineers and noise barrier suppliers to investigate several options for sound reducing walls. Based upon the results of the modeling, we recommended an inverted U-shaped design and specified the location, length, and height of proposed noise barriers. Mitigation measures are projected to lower sound levels by 8-10 decibels, achieving a 40-50 percent overall noise reduction. 

Key Features

  • In-field measurements established existing ambient sound levels at the substation
  • A state-of-the-art computer model accounted for topography and ground effects
  • Noise model incorporated sound data for new equipment to be added to the substation
  • Coordination with noise barrier suppliers ensured optimal barrier design.

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