26.02.03.02

.02 Environmental Noise Standards.

A. Precepts.

(1) It is known that noise above certain levels is harmful to the health of humans. Although precise levels at which all adverse health effects occur have not definitely been ascertained, it is known that one's well-being can be affected by noise through loss of sleep, speech interference, hearing impairment, and a variety of other psychological and physiological factors. The establishment of ambient noise standards, or goals, must provide margins of safety in reaching conclusions based on available data which relate noise exposure to health and welfare effects, with due consideration to technical and economic factors.

(2) The environmental noise standards set forth here represent goals expressed in terms of equivalent A-weighted sound levels which are protective of the public health and welfare. The ambient noise levels shall be achieved through application, under provisions of laws or regulations or otherwise, of means for reducing noise levels including, but not limited to, isolation of noise producing equipment, dampening of sound waves by insulation, equipment modification and redesign, and land use management.

B. Standards for Environmental Noise — General.

(1) A person may not cause or permit noise levels which exceed those specified in this table except as provided in §B(2) or (3), or §C, of this regulation.

Table 1
Maximum Allowable Noise Levels (dBA)
for Receiving Land Use Categories
Day/Night Industrial Commercial Residential
Day 75 67 65
Night 75 62 55

(2) A person may not cause or permit noise levels emanating from construction or demolition site activities which exceed:

(a) 90 dBA during daytime hours;

(b) The levels specified in Table 1 during nighttime hours.

(3) A person may not cause or permit the emission of prominent discrete tones and periodic noises which exceed a level which is 5 dBA lower than the applicable level listed in Table 1.

(4) A person may not cause or permit, beyond the property line of a source, vibration of sufficient intensity to cause another person to be aware of the vibration by such direct means as sensation of touch or visual observation of moving objects. The observer shall be located at or within the property line of the receiving property when vibration determinations are made.

(5) A person may not operate or permit to be operated an off-road internal combustion engine powered recreational vehicle, including, but not limited to, a dirt bike, an all terrain vehicle, a go cart, a snowmobile, or a similar vehicle, on private property closer than 300 feet to a neighboring residence or the associated curtilage, without the written permission of the affected resident, unless it can be demonstrated to the Department that the vehicle can be operated within the noise limits specified in Table 1 under §B(1) of this regulation.

C. Exemptions.

(1) The provisions of this regulation may not apply to devices used solely for the purpose of warning, protecting, or alerting the public, or some segment thereof, of the existence of an emergency or hazardous situation.

(2) The provisions of this regulation do not apply to the following:

(a) Household tools and portable appliances in normal usage during daytime hours;

(b) Lawn care and snow removal equipment (daytime only) when used and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications;

(c) Agricultural field machinery when used and maintained in accordance with manufacturer's specifications;

(d) Blasting operations for demolition, construction, and mining or quarrying (daytime only);

(e) Motor vehicles on public roads;

(f) Aircraft and related airport operations at airports licensed by the Maryland Aviation Administration;

(g) Boats on State waters or motor vehicles on State lands under the jurisdiction of the Department of Natural Resources;

(h) Emergency operations;

(i) Pile driving equipment during the daytime hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.;

(j) Sound except those sounds that are electronically amplified, between 7 a.m. and midnight, created by:

(i) Sporting events (except trap shooting, skeet shooting, or other target shooting);

(ii) Entertainment events; and

(iii) Other public gatherings operating under permit or permission of the appropriate local jurisdiction;

(k) Rapid rail transit vehicles and railroads;

(l) Construction and repair work on public property;

(m) Air conditioning or heat pump equipment used to cool or heat housing on residential property; for this equipment, a person may not cause or permit noise levels which exceed 70 dBA for air conditioning equipment at receiving residential property and 75 dBA for heat pump equipment at receiving residential property;

(n) Household pets on residential property that are maintained in accordance with local zoning requirements;

(o) Except in Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, Calvert, Charles, Garrett, Howard, Montgomery, St. Mary's, and Washington Counties, trap shooting, skeet shooting, or other target shooting between the hours of 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. on any range or other property of a shooting sports club that is chartered and in operation as of January 1, 2001;

(p) Trash collection operations between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.

(q) Marina equipment used to move boats during the period from 7 am to 7 pm provided that the noise level does not exceed 80 dBA at 20 meters from the equipment.

(3) The events and gatherings under §B(2)(j) of this regulation include, but are not limited to, athletic contests, amusement parks, carnivals, fairs at fairgrounds, sanctioned auto racing facilities, parades, and public celebrations.

(4) In Frederick County or Frederick City, a fair listed in the Maryland agricultural fairs and shows schedule that is maintained by the Maryland Agricultural Fair Board, or any other event held on the same grounds and listed by the Agricultural Fair Board, is exempt from this chapter.

D. Measurement.

(1) The equipment and techniques employed in the measurement of noise levels may be those recommended by the Department, which may, but need not, refer to currently accepted standards or recognized organizations, including, but not limited to, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

(2) The measurement of noise levels shall be conducted at points on or within the property line of the receiving property or the boundary of a zoning district, and may be conducted at any point for the determination of identity in multiple source situations.

(3) Sound level meters used to determine compliance with Regulation .02 shall meet or exceed the specifications for Type II sound level meters.