Losing Sleep Over Strange, Buzzing Din

The arrival of low-level noise provides a quandary for a sleepless reader.


One restless night, I noticed a noise that wasn’t there before: A low hum buzzing away in the background.

At first it was puzzling. I wondered what it could be. After a while I put my ear to every electrical appliance, wondering if it was the digital clock radio, the stereo, or some other device. I had the door and windows closed, so I didn’t think it was coming from outside.

Then my husband said it was the new refrigerated warehouse down the road. I couldn’t believe it, as that was quite some distance away. But I went for a walk in the day and he was right. The noise of the air conditioner carries.

I’ve discovered low-level noise is quite irritating, especially as it didn’t exist when we decided to buy the Teringie property. Now I understand why people get so upset about wind turbines. At no time can we ever enjoy the sound of silence again.

The new business is in a fairly industrial area. But just across the road (and down the street) is a quiet, residential area in a different council.

Is there anything we can do to stop this noise disturbing the peace?


Noise from a neighbouring property can be annoying, even low decibel sounds when continuous. However, sorting out disputes can be complicated and difficult.

You could contact the warehouse, talk to the manager, and explore the possibility of them reducing the noise level, especially at night.

Noise complaints can be made to the Environmental Protection Authority. Phone 8204 2004 during office hours or visit the website (www.epa.sa.gov.au). Staff can provide information about permitted noise levels and possible action to deal with your concern.

Go to the council whose area includes the new warehouse. Check the zone, eg: residential, rural industry, light industry, commercial. Ask to see the Development Plan and minutes of the meeting at which it was approved. See if the plan matches up to reality. The council might be willing to investigate your complaint if there are discrepancies.

It may be helpful to chat to your near neighbours and find out if the noise is disturbing them, and if so, whether they will support you. You could chat to a lawyer.

All suggestions are worth a try. If unsuccessful, then there is probably little else you can do. Hopefully, you might find with time you get used to the noise, and it no longer disturbs you as much.

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