Scientists to research source of 'Windsor Hum' in new study

(WXYZ) - A 7 Action News investigation led the way for a study-- funded by the Canadian government--to find the source of the infamous Windsor Hum.

In May of last year investigator Bill Proctor introduced us to a half dozen people who live on both sides of the Detroit River who would experienced a low rumbling sound or vibration that disrupted their lives and threatened their good health.

After years of complaints from their citizens, the Canadian government announced Monday a grant to support a university study to, at long last, use science to find the source.

No more finger pointing, at least for now. A previous study pointed to industries in the United States as the cause, but when no company stepped up to admit fault, or help determine a cause, months passed with no action.

Now, after years of complaints, people so fed up with the debilitating noise they've sold their homes and moved away, a university study, they hope, will finally answer the question:  Where is the vibration coming from?

It's a difficult noise to duplicate for our readers, but in certain Windsor, Essex County and downriver Detroit neighborhoods, it's effect on people in recent years now has a name of its own.

Gary Grosse, the face book admin for the Windsor-Essex County Hum page claims " a vibral- acoustic disease" is a compilation of several conditions.

"We've had more people coming forth indicating that they are showing symptoms of that," Gary said.

He's a Widsor musician and an acoustical expert with a wife and children who have suffered the hum's affects. He also has some 1,300 Facebook followers, mostly people who have suffered sleepless nights, ear, throat and heart problems--they say, from the hum.

"The Hum, quite frankly was hurting quality of life here in the city of Windsor," said Bob Dechert, the Parliamentary Secretary of the Minister of Canadian Foreign Affairs at an afternoon news conference announcing the study.

The Canadian government will pay $60,000 for a contract study and search for the source of the noise. The engineering department of the University of Windsor was the winning bidder for the project. In addition to permanent noise monitoring stations, an expensive monitor that looks like a spider web will be employed. It costs a quarter million dollars.

Colin Novak, PHD. of the University of Windsor explains "It's called a pictangular array…equipment that we can use to actually take a picture of the sound. It's very similar to a thermal imaging."

It's Canadian cash to do the job, but an international cooperative effort to once and for all find where the hum is coming from.

Dr. Saad Jasim is with the International Joint Commission. "The findings from these studies will provide the issues, and then identify what is the problem, and what is the source, and then potentially, how can we deal with it."  

For Gary and his followers, Zug Island is where the study should begin.

"It's number one on our list," he says, " ...but we're also aware that there are a lot of other industries behind Zug Island that may be attributing to the acoustic foot print."

What they all want is for the hum to stop, wherever it's coming from.

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