Residents who live around the 100 block of Witwer Avenue have been hearing a pretty eerie sound over the past several months.
We've heard it described as a sort of howling, spooky noise — and a loud one, to boot.
The sound, coming from Commercial Fluid Power, has grated on the nerves of enough residents that the city now is working with the company to alleviate the noise issues.
Eric Bowles, superintendent of permits and inspection, described the noise as an "oscillating, screeching" sound and said it's coming from machines that hone pipes. It's a loud process, and the company has already tried to curb the noise issues by closing its doors. But, Bowles said, that wasn't always possible during the unseasonably hot summer we've had.
"When you have three, four, five machines doing the honing, the oscillation is all over the place and the noise is all over the place," he said. "It can be pretty frazzling.”
So far, the Dover-based company has tried three options to reduce the noise level and appease nearby residents.
- The company has made an effort to keep its doors closed during the evening hours as well as move most of the grinding work to the daytime shifts.
- Commercial Fluid Power also bought new tooling equipment to use in two of its honing machines to reduce the amount of noise the machines produce. Bowles said that brought the noise level down from 85 decibels to 67 decibels with several machines running.
- The company also had replaced some of the hones with wooden hones, which would reduce the noise level.
Bowles said the company has cooperated with the city in reducing the noise and will continue to meet with city officials to talk about more solutions that will be tried out in the next six months. Bowles declined to go into what those solutions might be.
"We’re at the intersection of ... keeping the neighborhood quality high, and we don’t want to drive this company away from the community because it’s a great company," he said. "So we’re trying to find a solution that’s going to make both parties happy.”
The noise does not violate the city's noise ordinance, which applies to only sound that is amplified (such as through a speaker).