The New York City Noise Code has numerous provisions, addressing sound from commercial establishments, mechanical equipment and commercial music, among other things. It also specifies how different types of noise are to be measured. But the equipment and methods used by the DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) do not always match the Code provisions. Sometimes this can lead to erroneous results; violations are issued for noise that does not actually exceed the standards, and in other cases the opposite occurs, with no violation for noise that does exceed the applicable limits.
The DEP (or another consultant) told you your noise problem isn't a violation?
They could be wrong.
In our experience, a lot of the noise that people complain about is low-frequency noise. This includes sounds like the bass beat from a nightclub and the humming of mechanical equipment such as air conditioners, fans, washing machines, pumps and elevators ....the law is intended
The Noise Code and Building Code contain language that sets limits on such sounds, specifying maximum permissible levels for each frequency band. But measuring noise in separate bands requires a complex spectrum analyzer, which the DEP inspectors do not use. The meters they use measure in "dBA" only. This is a system that gives a single number measurement of all frequencies, but it is "weighted" to strongly discount the low frequency sounds.
Thus, the law is intended to protect you from low frequency noise, but the DEP has not yet obtained the right meters to measure it.
Some other consultants also use the wrong type of measurements.
Using the proper type of analyzer, we can measure the noise you hear and compare the results with the provisions of the applicable codes.
You must act right away
This is very important. The fines for Noise Code violations escalate, and your equipment can even be shut down after repeated violations. If you have received a noise violation from the DEP or ECB (Environmental Control Board) call us right away. We have been able to get these "shut-off" orders removed.
What can we do?
If you run a commercial establishment, the Noise Code sets limits on the sound levels that may be produced by your equipment. But the DEP often often makes mistakes in issuing violations.
Sometimes the mistakes are procedural; the violation is written improperly.
Sometimes the mistakes are technical; the measurement equipment is used improperly.
If the DEP issues a violation with mistakes, you may be entitled to have the fine rescinded.
If the violation was issued erroneously, we can provide the evidence. And if you really are in violation, we can make recommendations to help fix the problem. In some cases, the fine for a first violation can be waived if you can show that you are proceeding with a remediation plan.
In either case, you'll need to act quickly and get the proper plan in place the first time.
Questions? Call us Monday to Friday 10 am to 5 pm at 212-925-1365. If you need to reach us at other times please use our contact form.