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Those living near BWI Airport will receive funds to soundproof their homes

Home near BWI Airport is soundproofed with sealant. Photo courtesy of BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport.
BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport
Home near BWI Airport is soundproofed with sealant.

Residents living near BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport will receive $1.1 million in state funding to reduce jet noise.

The funds will provide 18 homes with sound insulation treatments.

The three member Board of Public Works chaired by Governor Wes Moore, which includes Comptroller Brooke Lierman and Treasurer Dereck Davis, approved the contract Wednesday morning.

But for Drew Roth, who lives south of the airport in Elkridge, the funding doesn’t go far enough.

“Even if you insulate the home, you're still denying that homeowner, the full use and enjoyment of their yard,” said Roth, who is a member of the BWI Roundtable Working Group.

“You can't go have a nice afternoon in the deck or in your garden, if noise from the airport is so bad,” he continued.

BWI spokesman Jonathan Dean says the approval is the first phase of a $35 million, multiyear program that will ultimately improve more than 100 single family homes and more than 300 multi-family units in 17 buildings.

But Roth worries the investment in noise abatement would allow the airport to expand, making surrounding areas noisier.

Studies show that aviation noise can have negative health impacts. People living near airports are more likely to experience heart disease, anxiety and low birth rates.

Dr. Zafar Zafari, is an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. He has studied the cost-effectiveness and health impacts of noise mitigation.

“There is a significant health and economic burden of noise,” said Zafari. “Any noise mitigation intervention, such as sound insulation, would come with a good value for the money.”

According to the Maryland Aviation Administration, noise complaints are down by 13% in Q1 when compared to the same time last year.

To date, BWI Marshall Airport has mitigated 750 local homes and four schools for approximately $80 million.

Wambui Kamau is a General Assignment Reporter for WYPR. @WkThee
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