Northern Virginia: Noise pollution from Prince William data center riles locals

Jul 22, 2022 | Posted by MadalineDunn

 Prince William County, North Virginia, is often in the spotlight when it comes to locals' gripes and complaints regarding noise and environmental pollution. With the number of facilities in the area growing year on year, a recent report in June estimated that by 2035, the County could run out of space to meet data center demand. Now, homeowners and civic groups have come together to rally against continuous and "catastrophic" noise from local facilities. 

Taking their complaint to the Board of County Supervisors, the HOA (homeowners' association) Roundtable of Prince William County, and the Great Oak community HOA from Manassas have outlined their opposition to the "extreme industrial noise," which they say they are subjected to "24x7" and that it is without regulation. According to the complainants, who met with the Board of Supervisors this week, the noise pollution from the data centers is "inundating their neighborhood without reprieve."

The two groups are recommending that the board take similar action to that taken by the local government in Chandler, Arizona, which, when faced with noise complaints, placed a moratorium on future data centers. The group wants the County to put a stop to approvals until it has addressed the noise issues. The focus of the protestors' complaint is on Amazon's Manassas campus, which is reportedly expelling a huge amount of noise pollution as a result of the air conditioning units on top of the buildings; however, the County, as a result of excluding air-conditioning noise from the regulation in a 1989 ordinance (under which the data centers have built), has no legal ability to control noise from cooling equipment.