The Covington city council heard a presentation from a study conducted by Vibra-Tech, which hired it to test the noise and vibration levels produced from the car shredding machine at Oconee Metal Recovery on Washington Street.
The study, which was prompted after several residents from surrounding neighborhoods complained about excessive noise and vibration, concluded Oconee Metal Recovery was abiding by the city noise and vibration ordinances in the operation of its car shredding machine.
Vibra-Tech, a consulting company based out of Snellville that specializes in seismic acoustics, used three seismographs to monitor vibration levels from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 10, 16 and 18. One seismograph was placed on Washington Street, another on Sunset Drive and the last on Bridewell Street.
No perceptible vibrations were recorded from the seismographs on Sunset Drive and Bridewell Street.
Vibrations were detected by the seismograph on Washington Street. However, the vibrations were within the limit required by the city ordinance and were not strong enough to cause any damage to a structure. Residents had previously complained the vibrations were damaging their homes.
Vibra-Tech also used one sound level meter to test the noise level. However, all noise levels were within the city's ordinance requirements.
The residents were not satisfied with the results of the study. One resident said that Oconee Metal Recovery had been warned ahead of time when the studies would be conducted. Another refuted the vibrations were not causing damage saying a home on Nelson Drive had a cracked foundation because of it.
City manager Steve Horton said if residents did not feel that the city resolved the issue, they could file a private nuisance compliant and let the municipal court judge rule on it.
"Why should we go file a civil charge against this guy when we've got one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight people right here that we elected as officials to help us out so we don't have to spend this money to go to court," said one resident.
Mayor Ronnie Johnston said the city is in a tough position.
"I hear what you all are saying," Johnston said. "It's painful to listen to and I also respect the fact that this man is trying to run a business...I'm trying to find something to make him put a muffler on the thing or tell you all ‘Hey, I love you, but I'm sorry.' I'm struggling to find somewhere to point the gun and shoot."
The council will continue to investigate the complaints and work with the parties involved for a solution.