By Liset Marquez, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
ONTARIO >> Much has changed in the airline industry since Los Angeles World Airports last studied aircraft noise around L.A./Ontario International Airport more than two decades ago.
The agency has embarked on a nearly two-year process to update its map and determine if the area around the airport exposed to higher than normal aircraft noise levels has at all changed.
An updated map is needed in order to be eligible for future funding from the Federal Aviation Administration for the residential noise mitigation programs, said Gene Reindel, with the consulting firm Harris Milller Miller & Hanson, Inc. The firm was tapped by LAWA to handle the project.
“What the FAA has said recently is, ‘Your noise exposure maps are out of date. They have to be updated every five years’,” he said.
The last time LAWA updated the map was in 1990. It was only until recently that the FAA required these maps, which show areas exposed to aircraft noise, be updated regularly.
“That’s really the impetuous to update the map so the airport can continue to eligible for grants,” Reindel said.
But until the map is approved and updated by the FAA, new funding for the noise mitigation efforts will have to be placed on hold, Reindel said.
Since the program has launched, more than $100 million, between LAWA and FAA, has been used to mitigate noise issues around the airport, he said.
Funding for the program is allocated according to annual budgets, Reindel said. While LAWA seeks funding for the program from the FAA, it is the city of Ontario that has operated it since 1994. Known as the Quiet Homes program, it offers two choices: home improvement or, in severe cases relocation.
This updated map will help identify whether or not a larger, or smaller area near the airport is subjected to higher levels of noise that result from aircraft.
As part of the project, officials will work to get a current layout and operation of the airport. It will also include reviewing aircraft operations, how often they fly and what time of day they fly.
These are all key to determine if the contour lines of the map should change, Reindel said. It is also important given some significant changes involving the airline industry and LAWA since the last map was approved by the FAA.
The biggest difference is airlines now fly much quieter planes than they did 24 years ago. Secondly, traffic at the airports has decreased which means the level of noise coming out of the airport will mostly likely change, said David Chan, LAWA project manager.
The project will also include a forecast of airline operations between 2015 to 2020, said Peter Stumpp who will be compiling the data for the firm.
Currently, the FAA is predicting that air travel will remain the same at ONT.
“We haven’t really begun the forecasting process. If the forecast that we come up is substantially different from the FAA, then we will need to be able to justify it,” he said.
Which is why Stumpp will be analyzing ONT flight data dating back to 2000.
“We don’t have any informed view whether or not we’re going to mirror this (map), see more growth, or less growth. That will all be determined,” Stumpp said. “We will be looking carefully at the but we really just begun the process.”
One thing Stumpp will look at is the significant drop in traffic that has occurred in the past, and determine to what extent those factors may be reversed in the future.
Depending on the outcome of forecast and changes in noise levels, Reindel said, officials will also have to review whether any land uses, such existing homes, schools or churches, will still be compatible in the area.
Officials expect to submit the final update to FAA by November 2015. It will take the agency at least 180 days to review the project.
A web page was established at bit.ly/PZibVb for residents to get more information. There is also a toll-free phone line at 855-279-4698 for providing comments related to the project.
copied 5/4/14 from: http://www.redlandsdailyfacts.com/business/20140503/lawa-begins-process-to-review-ont-noise-levels