Westside resident fighting noise battle
Over the past 40 years, Jim and Margaret Ruthers have called their Clime Road residence home.
However, for almost a year now the Ruthers say the loud humming sound coming from the ConAgra Foods processing plant, which once was just a backdrop, has come to the foreground and is disturbing their lives.
“It’s gotten much, much louder than it used to be,” Margaret said.
Jim discovered the source of the humming after investigating the noise by driving around in his car – which led him to the ConAgra plant at 4200 Sullivant Ave.
According to Jim, a retired truck driver, what has made the problem worse is that he suffers from tinnitus; a ringing of the ear caused by years of roaring engines.
“It’s been incredible,” Jim said, “believe me – it’s no picnic – and it’s agitated by that action up there.”
The Ruthers turned to Columbus Public Health with their concerns and had them visit their home to test the noise levels.
While the city conducted two separate tests, one at the Ruthers’ residence and another near the ConAgra plant, Jim said the noise was not occurring at the time they tested their home.
“They always run their test during the day and at night is when it becomes really prevalent,” Jim said, adding that their sleep has been disturbed by the humming occurring as late as 10 p.m. and also on the weekends.
According to Columbus Public Health Spokesperson Jose Rodriguez, the city returned to the property adjacent the Ruthers’ home for follow-up testing on Feb. 8.
Rodriguez said this time the city reached out to ConAgra and learned at what time the plant would be running at full capacity – which would allow them to measure the noise level at its loudest.
“That time the plant was operating at full capacity,” Rodriguez said. “So that we could measure when the worst noise would be recorded.”
During the final testing of the ConAgra plant, the city recorded the noise at 62.1 decibels.
According to Rodriguez, noise must surpass 65 decibels to be considered a nuisance and for the city to take action.
“We have worked with him to hear his complaint and his concerns,” Rodriguez said. “We have measured the noise at its capacity, and we have also contacted the plant. So at this point, since it’s not measuring past the threshold there’s nothing else we could do.”
Representatives at ConAgra were unable to be reached for comment.