AWS US East (N. Virginia): Protests over Amazon's Manassas data center

Aug 30, 2022 | Posted by MadalineDunn

Amazon’s Manassas data center has come under fire over noise pollution. According to reports, activists in Prince William County, Virginia, have united to protest against the facility, citing that the “area is being overrun with data center development,” and subsequently, the constant noise is detrimentally impacting their quality of life. 

In an interview with WTOP, one of the protest organizers and head of the group Gainesville Citizens for Smart Growth, Bill Wright, said that Amazon has been in discussion with neighbors to explore ways to solve the noise problem, but said its suggestion of fading shrouding to rooftop chiller units, has been met with skepticism by residents. Locals have reportedly found that sound is, in fact, being emitted from the ventilation louvers on the side of the building.

Wright said that this noise pollution issue is symptomatic of a wider issue, and activists have stressed that local government needs to “slam the brakes” on future data center development until it can “demonstrate the empathetic understanding of and remediation for the profound detrimental effects of what it has already approved.” Speaking with WTOP, Wright outlined that the demonstration serves to function as an insistence that local governments do a better job of setting standards and writing ordinances that advocate for their citizens’ health and safety rather than “leave it to their citizens to appeal to corporate benevolence.”

In a statement, an Amazon Web Services (AWS) spokesman said that addressing the noise concerns from locals is a top priority for the giant, adding: “We started installing sound reducing acoustical shrouds at our data center in Manassas last Friday, and this work will be completed in the coming weeks. This is just one of several sound reduction measures our team is evaluating. We are proud to call Virginia home, and remain committed to working with and listening to our neighbors to further improve the environment around our facilities.”