‘The Hum’: Ship offloading suspected in latest recurrence

September 26, 2012 at 11:14 am | In Highland Park, West Seattle news, WS miscellaneous | 82 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

A late-night round of sleuthing may help settle the question of what’s behind “The Hum,” which returned Monday night after two-plus weeks – at least, the latest version of it.

If you’ve heard it – listen to see if this is what you are hearing, and note the ship stack visible as we zoom in toward the end:

We shot that video (most useful for audio purposes) from West Marginal Way SW last night, not far south of Highland Park Way, after a late-night round of sleuthing involving Highland Park community advocates plus managers/staffers from a different company – NOT where the video/audio came from – who were trying to determine for once or for all if their operations were to blame.

Quick recap, if you’re just joining us:

Tales of “The Hum” have percolated around West Seattle for years. We mentioned it here in the WSB news section in 2009. It has sparked multiple WSB Forums discussions in the meantime.

But nothing like the sudden explosion of reports around Labor Day Weekend. For a while, we pointed people to the Forums – but the reports kept coming in, and it seemed obvious that this was news.

So we published this story, which went somewhat “viral,” leading to regional-media attention, and then even international notice, particularly when the fish theory briefly surfaced – since debunked, by the way.

The city Department of Planning and Development has jurisdiction over noise, so it investigated.

Then things calmed down and we didn’t hear it, or hear about it … until this past Monday night.

Whatever had caused it before – or at least one distinct form of it – was back, and we wrote this story after reports came in via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, text, phone, that people were hearing it again.

As had happened back around Labor Day weekend, some commenters speculated the Lafarge plant on West Marginal Way might be a factor. We went down to listen on Monday night (video/audio included in our story), and from what we had heard of “The Hum” – a distinctly rising and falling, oscillating sort of sound – the ongoing sound of Lafarge equipment did NOT resemble that type of sound.

We were contacted yesterday afternoon by Lafarge plant manager Jonathan Hall, who said he would do whatever it took to figure out for once and for all if his plant was responsible. He already had talked with some Highland Park community members, including HP Action Committee co-chairs Billy and Carolyn Stauffer, and was hoping to set up an experiment if it happened again Tuesday night: Verify the sound from Highland Park, then have someone at the plant shut down their equipment (with on-site verification too), and see if that changed anything.

When “The Hum” started up again at mid-evening yesterday, the plan was put into place. We got a call and went over to Lafarge to see, and hear, what would transpire.

Meeting at the plant entrance, we learned that manager Hall had arranged to go uphill with HP resident Kay Kirkpatrick, rendezvousing with Carolyn Stauffer; WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand went along. I stayed at the plant with Billy Stauffer and other Lafarge employees awaiting a radio message/phone call as a signal to shut down the equipment if the sound was still audible in HP.

Of course, as Murphy’s Law would have it, it wasn’t.

Everybody waited for 45-plus minutes. I was in the plant control room with some genial gentlemen who even made us coffee. Nothing changed at Lafarge – but what was audible there, as we recorded, was the same steady sound I’d heard and recorded the night before from across West Marginal Way (featured in our Monday night story). Here’s what it sounded like last night, standing right on the grounds of the plant:

The Stauffers had already checked out the ship to the south – which they say is the CalPortland terminal – and voiced their belief it sounded like the culprit. (It should be noted, the ship suspicion also was mentioned in a comment during the early-September coverage.) So when we left Lafarge, we went down the road to see what we could hear.

That’s when we recorded the video/audio, above. We didn’t trespass – just pulled over alongside the east side of West Marginal Way and aimed the camera toward the ship whose stack was visible down a long entry drive.

The sound was not audible a short time later from Riverview Playfield, we should note, where we had heard it the night before. The Stauffers kept monitoring into the night, though, and say they matched it around 12:30 am.

The ship, as identified in this comment yesterday and verified via MarineTraffic.com, is the Silver Lake. As of this writing at midmorning Wednesday, it is still there – you can see on this MarineTraffic.com page that its stack has the “B” you see toward the end of our first clip.

Lafarge says the Silver Lake was not making a delivery for their facility but they use the same type of ship, and since they have empty dock space, this one is due to dock with them after it’s done offloading further south. Their last delivery from any ship, plant manager Hall says, was August 25th. But a ship like Silver Lake, he says, was also on the Duwamish around Labor Day.

So now what?

Zeroing in on a likely source is just part of the puzzle. Questions include whether the sound of the offloading operation is breaking city rules. That’s up to the city to determine – and they continue to collect complaints. (They had checked out Lafarge previously, by the way, per the response added to our story yesterday, and found nothing.) If you have been disturbed by the sound, they ask again that you report it directly to them – contact info is at the right side of this page.

The HPAC co-chairs are continuing to investigate via the terminal where the ship is docked. We will hear more from them later, including at tonight’s meeting (7 pm, Highland Park Improvement Club at 12th/Holden). We also have an inquiry out – and any new information during the day will be added to this story.

ADDED 7:46 PM: We’re at the HPAC meeting, where the first half-hour or so was spent on The Hum. The Stauffers said that they had just received a statement from the CalPortland manager with whom they had spoken earlier, and he had sent this statement:

We learned for the first time today that our operation is a suspected source of the West Seattle Hum. We have begun investigating the situation to confirm these suspicions. We will cooperate with the community and local agencies to take appropriate steps to address the community’s concerns.

More in a separate story on the HPAC meeting, after it’s over.

82 Comments

  1. That is the sound I heard last night (near 35th and Morgan). Or at least VERY close to it. Nice job, WSB. God, please…someone shut it down. I woke up several times during the night the past few evenings. I can’t…and won’t…live like this.

    Comment by vraxvalhalla — 11:36 am September 26, 2012 #

  2. That ship noise certainly sounded like the kind of noise I hear over here in Westwood, with the same kind of high/low tones, each at the same approximate intervals.

    Comment by bridge to somewhere — 11:36 am September 26, 2012 #

  3. WSB, this is incredible reporting, and I am more grateful than I can say. “The hum” was just a story for me until I spent more than an hour in the middle of the night with a pillow over my head trying to block out the sound, unable to sleep because it was so loud, and even though it didn’t wake me up again last night I’m still tired and feelng less productive as a result of that lost sleep earlier this week! It is more than merely annoying, it’s a real problem, and I am so happy that you’re on it, looking for answers. Once the source is confirmed, I am certain that we can get to a solution… hopefully one that doesn’t involve humming in the wee hours of the morning! Thank you for your thorough investigation.

    Comment by Kristina — 11:40 am September 26, 2012 #

  4. That is the sound I heard last night about 3AM!

    Thank you for digging into this. It feels like it is closer to being resolved.

    Comment by Brian — 11:45 am September 26, 2012 #

  5. Community members are really the ones cracking the case, so credit to them, we’re just the ones who put the story together and out there. This is what WSB has always been about – community collaboration (for anyone just joining us, a national award even resulted from that, and it’s yours as well as ours: http://journalists.org/awards/past-winners-2010 ) . We’ll see what happens next! – TR

    Comment by WSB — 11:47 am September 26, 2012 #

  6. WSB great job, thank you for the dedication!!!

    Comment by Brandon — 12:01 pm September 26, 2012 #

  7. Let’s also give some kudos to Lafarge- it says a lot that their managers have the leeway to work with the community and the WSB they way that they did.

    Comment by ChristopherD — 12:03 pm September 26, 2012 #

  8. I think that’s what I’ve been hearing! Thanks for all the sleuthing to find the answer!

    Comment by Anny — 12:06 pm September 26, 2012 #

  9. I noticed this for the first time last night at about 1:15am near Upper Morgan Junction when I was woken up by something else (a pile of bee frames had fallen over in my greenhouse outside, probably from someone crawling on ‘em).

    I could tell it was coming from the Duwamish for sure.

    Comment by brizone — 12:07 pm September 26, 2012 #

  10. That’s it! That’s it!

    Great job, WSB, and agreed to give kudos to LaFarge. It’s great to see that kind of cooperation and commitment to finding a solution.

    Comment by elikapeka — 12:08 pm September 26, 2012 #

  11. I can’t believe how loud that is and how far it travels!

    Comment by Heather — 12:09 pm September 26, 2012 #

  12. Totally agree, ChristopherD. We have dealt with companies in MUCH less sensitive situations than “noise problem affecting many community members” who totally clam up, refuse to answer inquiries, much less doing something like Lafarge did – allowing journalists and community members into their control room at 11 pm, with extra help called in to prepare for possibly shutting the whole place down if that’s what it took to investigate the situation.

    Comment by WSB — 12:13 pm September 26, 2012 #

  13. I wonder if that carries down to the south end of Vashon Island, or if we get the hum from the Port of Tacoma. The sound here is more of a monotone – it doesn’t change pitch. It was persistent all night last night and for several nights prior. It goes throughout the night and into the early morning. It can be felt as much as heard. It’s more pronounced inside the house, I think because extraneous outside noise is shut out.

    Comment by IslandKatz — 12:28 pm September 26, 2012 #

  14. Yes! That is the sound we have heard also!Thanks to you all for looking for the source and finding it.Now I hope they can do something about it.

    Comment by oddreality — 12:30 pm September 26, 2012 #

  15. I do believe that’s what I was hearing last night. I’m in Highland Park near 9th and Holden. It didn’t bother me as much as it seems to have bothered other people, but it was clearly audible for over an hour even with my windows closed.

    Comment by datamuse — 12:32 pm September 26, 2012 #

  16. On a previous thread I accused Lefarge of creating the hum (along with many others). It seemed obvious when I stopped near the plant but the sound didn’t fluctuate – it was a constant noise that I thought was being tweaked by environmental conditions. I now stand corrected and extend an olive branch to them. Sorry for jumping to conclusions and many thanks to WSB for clearing this up.

    Comment by 2 Much Whine — 12:34 pm September 26, 2012 #

  17. Tracy, I want to echo the other compliments to you, Patrick, WSB, the community members and LaFarge staff for working so diligently to resolve this issue. Thank you, thank you all for your dedication and perseverance. I hope the “Hum” can be stopped, abated or mitigated in some way so that everyone can sleep peacefully at night. And I am just amazed at your description of the manager and workers at LaFarge. What responsible folk they are! ~z

    Comment by zephyr — 12:36 pm September 26, 2012 #

  18. Absolutely, this is it! Nice work WSB :)

    Comment by Michelle — 12:38 pm September 26, 2012 #

  19. I heard it for the first time in North Admiral last night. It was a low hum but incredibly agitating! We’ve had industry in the area ‘forever’ making me especially curious as to why this particular ship is standing out.

    Comment by CJ — 12:43 pm September 26, 2012 #

  20. Totally it. It sounds a bit different depending on wind, temperature, location, etc… but that’s totally it. You nailed it. I cannot believe how far it travels at night.

    Comment by schwaggy — 12:58 pm September 26, 2012 #

  21. I’ve been hearing this all summer, even during the day, and I live in North Admiral.
    I’m tired of getting woken up in the middle of the night. The dog is even getting cranky.

    Comment by Neighbor — 1:04 pm September 26, 2012 #

  22. Yes, very familiar sound. Especially the oscillating rhythm of it. Fantastic sleuthing!

    Comment by Tanej — 1:07 pm September 26, 2012 #

  23. It is the ship sound, and not the LaFarge plant sound. I think you’ve found it! And the ship location is the direction the sound is coming from at Riverview, not the LaFarge location.

    But is it the ship making the sound, or something else to do with offloading it or something? Since this sound recurs every few weeks, is it the same ship each time?

    Comment by Bryan Hollister — 1:17 pm September 26, 2012 #

  24. Thanks for staying on this. I live near the corner of 39th and Holden and the darn thing kept me up for two hours last night. It’s completely unacceptable; I don’t care whose jurisdiction it is in, it needs to stop.

    Comment by george — 1:29 pm September 26, 2012 #

  25. That’s the noise we hear in Seaview near 47th & Juneau.

    Great reporting WSB! Thank you!!

    Comment by LStephens — 1:46 pm September 26, 2012 #

  26. I woke up around 5:00am to “The Hum’, freaked me out, I live on 31st between Roxbury and Barton. My neighbor says she has heard it on and off for 4 years

    Comment by Maryann — 1:55 pm September 26, 2012 #

  27. Apparently its not impotant enough for the State to spend money and find out what’s behind this..

    Comment by coyoteandthecat — 2:14 pm September 26, 2012 #

  28. Tracy, listening to the hum…it sounds very familiar. A few years ago, I lived near a lumber mill that loaded woodchips into train hoppers once a week at night. When they were loading the trains, the sound from the machinery sounded very similar.

    The Silver Lake is a bulk carrier, so dry goods would be loaded into her and on a much larger scale than a small train car.

    I would suggest cross-referencing what days the hum is being heard and seeing if any bulk carriers were at the port being loaded.

    Comment by Amanda Emily — 2:30 pm September 26, 2012 #

  29. Noted that LaFarge is not the source of the noise. Hats off to them and they get my vote for a community award. WSB of course, too.

    Comment by Admiral935 — 2:38 pm September 26, 2012 #

  30. It sounds like the Docksider they are using to unload the bulk material out of the boat. It is essentially a large vacuum system.

    Comment by Jim — 2:50 pm September 26, 2012 #

  31. I have never heard the hum but great reporting.

    To those of you who can’t sleep, try a fan on low, it helps block out sounds and can be soothing. I can’t sleep without one! Good luck!

    Comment by T-Rex — 2:55 pm September 26, 2012 #

  32. Today was the first time I have head it in the house. About 5:15 am, 21st and Roxbury.

    This is the exact sound I heard.

    Comment by smokeycretin9 — 3:01 pm September 26, 2012 #

  33. @ Coyote – has anyone seriously brought the hum up to the state yet? If not, why should they care if they don’t know about it?
    .
    I used to live just south of the Vashon Ferry terminal, and some of the ships that would cruise up the channel from Tacoma would rattle the windows. Just a quiet murmur in the night, but the vibration from the engines was transmitted through the water to shore, where it would hit the 3rd story windows just right. The sound and energy these things can transmit is impressive.

    Comment by Tracy White — 3:06 pm September 26, 2012 #

  34. The latest audio of the ship offloading sounds exactly like the sound that’s been bugging us. Thank you West Seattle Blog editor and staffers and volunteers for trying to get to the bottom of this sound and to the personnel at LaFarge for their cooperation in working with the communtiy. Hopefully, the City can do something now to get this noise stopped once and for all.

    Comment by Bob Zickes — 3:25 pm September 26, 2012 #

  35. That’s the sound! That is exactly what I have been hearing! Let’s hope they can take care of it.

    Comment by stephanie — 3:38 pm September 26, 2012 #

  36. I also don’t hear any hum, and from the looks of these comments, I am really glad I don’t.

    Comment by NotMe — 3:39 pm September 26, 2012 #

  37. This was definitely the sound heard at 5am this morning! Thanks for sleuthing it down!

    Comment by Arbor Heights Ears — 4:21 pm September 26, 2012 #

  38. Confirmed. Now what do we do to stop it? Do thousands of citizens have any say when big commerce is involved?

    Comment by anonyme — 4:37 pm September 26, 2012 #

  39. yup. that is it. heard it from past morgan junction.

    Comment by m — 5:00 pm September 26, 2012 #

  40. The Midshipman fish story was so much more romantic, and it gave Jim Forman (Channel 5) something to do besides stand outside in a storm trying to stay upright. Did seem a bit far-fetched, however.

    Comment by WestSide45 — 5:02 pm September 26, 2012 #

  41. WELL, it sounds like we all need to keep calling the city when we hear it.

    Comment by smokeycretin9 — 5:18 pm September 26, 2012 #

  42. Hopefully there is a way to get this resolved so we can turn our focus to those irritating trains blasting their way through the night!

    Good sluething.

    Comment by Smitty — 5:41 pm September 26, 2012 #

  43. Has anyone looked into binaural recording to locate the source of this?

    Comment by libertygirl — 6:17 pm September 26, 2012 #

  44. Jim:

    Does a Docksider include rotating parts, especially two of them which would turn at a couple hundred RPM or more? The sound to me resembles the sound of a twin engine airplane–you get a base engine noise and then a beat frequency when they are close, but not exactly spinning at the same speed? Two blowers/compressors generating the vacuum? Two auger heads breaking up the settled bulk materials?
    -
    A Cessna 421 engine rotates at 2800 RPM (I recall after 25 years), and it had that same wah…waah. waaah…waah wah variation as the beat come in and out of sync.
    -
    My two cents.

    Comment by JayDee — 6:22 pm September 26, 2012 #

  45. Plus that is a good enough recording (it would seem to me) to have someone perform a frequency analysis to determine the main frequency which should correlate +/- with motor speed.

    Comment by JayDee — 6:24 pm September 26, 2012 #

  46. Great Job WSB, Kudos to all involved. Just curious, is the noise caused by equipment on the ship or equipment at the terminal the ship is docked at?

    Comment by WB — 6:41 pm September 26, 2012 #

  47. I’ve heard this hum in Kirkland. We’ve since moved, but I went as far as complaining to the management of the complex thinking it was the upstairs neighbors. I realized it wasn’t them after they were away a couple of weeks on vacation.

    Comment by R — 6:49 pm September 26, 2012 #

  48. We are at the Highland Park Action Committee meeting now (as is at least one TV crew) and hope to hear more of what community advocates here have found out since first thing this morning – TR

    Comment by WSB — 7:07 pm September 26, 2012 #

  49. “Amanda Emily” “cross-referencing ” is a good idea.

    I would also see if the off loaders have bought new equipment lately. Or are they behind on their repair schedule. This can all feed in to bad or unexpected machine noises.
    Good work all

    Comment by patt — 7:08 pm September 26, 2012 #

  50. I’m sitting in the bleachers at SWAC and I think I hear it now.

    Comment by Aural Torture — 7:13 pm September 26, 2012 #

  51. *Update* HPAC co-chairs Carolyn and Billy Stauffer started the meeting by talking about The Hum and what they called last night’s “reconnaissance mission.” They have a statement from the facility where the ship has been docked (after going there in person to try to talk with them today). They say the company management has promised to work with the community to find a solution. The equipment that is making the noise is described as like “a giant shop-vac” – vacuuming material out of a ship. We’ll have a separate story later. Meantime, as we walked into the meeting, the sound was clearly audible here at 12th and Holden – TR

    Comment by WSB — 7:28 pm September 26, 2012 #

  52. The HUM is back. I can hear it louder than ever here on 32nd & Webster.

    Comment by Bill — 8:02 pm September 26, 2012 #

  53. Keep up the good work in finding and hopefully (soon) eliminating the hum. It’s sleep disrupting and agitating to say the least. I’m on 31st SW by Holden.

    Comment by M. Carpenter — 8:07 pm September 26, 2012 #

  54. I finally heard back from the Mayor’s office I wrote to on Labor Day.
    Not much help… ~~Surprise~~
    Humming Noise in West Seattle

    Justad, Alan Alan.Justad@seattle.gov

    Dear xxxx I received your email about the humming noise in West Seattle from the Customer Service Bureau. DPD enforces portions of the

    Seattle Noise Ordinance and it is possible that the humming may be subject to applicable City regulations. However, DPD inspectors have been unable to locate the source of the noise or to measure it. Until the source has been identified, we will not be able to make the determination whether a violation has taken place.

    If you have information about the hum that would help, you can contact a noise inspector at: 206-684-7843 or 206-615-1760.

    Alan Justad

    Community Engagement

    Seattle Department of Planning and Development

    233-3891

    Comment by Lisa Hegle (Boettger) — 8:16 pm September 26, 2012 #

  55. Don’t we have regulations that prohibit this kind of noise during sleeping hours? Just tell them to stop between 8PM and 8AM for now. I would like it to be NEVER though!

    Comment by Pat — 8:32 pm September 26, 2012 #

  56. The hum has officially started this evening right at about 8pm. Very loud tonight.

    Comment by Shawn — 8:35 pm September 26, 2012 #

  57. Thanks for a great meeting and good information HPAC folks. You all have done an exemplary job in tracking this down and communicating with both the city department and the possible source of the “Hum”. On the way home, I drove up to the Myrtle Reservoir Park and could hear the “hum” very loudly tonight in spite of all the evening traffic on 35th. It’s bad in Gatewood, but it must be miserable in Pigeon Point, Riverview and Highland Park. ~z

    Comment by zephyr — 8:37 pm September 26, 2012 #

  58. I knew you could do it, WSB!! Hip, hip!!

    Completely off topic and out of simple curiosity: @Lisa Hegle (Boettger), you heard back from Mr. Justad, shared his email response, and xxxx’d your name. Why?

    Comment by shed22 — 8:58 pm September 26, 2012 #

  59. The Hum was very audible in the wee hours of the 26th all the way down in Burien. Has anyone else noticed it stopping and starting up a few minutes later?

    Comment by Bob — 9:15 pm September 26, 2012 #

  60. That’s the hum, all right. If you compare the WSB vidoe clip to the audio clip that Julie from Highland Park sent in from the Labor Day weekend episode, it matches exactly. Now that it’s been identified, I hope there will be some agreement on what acceptable hours are for ships’ off-loading operations.

    Comment by dcn — 9:17 pm September 26, 2012 #

  61. To my West Seattle neighbors,
    Tonight at 7:30 PM I went outside, when there, when it was quite you can hear “THE HUM” sound. I never heard it this early in the evening. Anyone else hear it too? I also heard it last night at 1:30 AM.

    Comment by Lillie family — 10:18 pm September 26, 2012 #

  62. Just heard the hum again just now at 10:20pm (9/26).

    Comment by Westside Manor — 10:34 pm September 26, 2012 #

  63. I don’t hear it at about 12th and Roxbury, but I was up visiting someone one mile north at 12th and Holden tonight and I heard it. And it was LOOOOUUUUUDDDDD!!! Not that I doubted anyone, but geez Louise you people aren’t kidding!

    Comment by AJP — 10:45 pm September 26, 2012 #

  64. @ Bob. Yes!

    Comment by Lfauntleroy — 10:52 pm September 26, 2012 #

  65. That’s the hum. I’ve been around home today and have heard it all day long. It continues now at 11pm. I live on 13th and Kenyon.

    Comment by Jill — 11:08 pm September 26, 2012 #

  66. The hummmmmm is Keepppping meeee uuuupppp! Delridge/Holden. coming from the east….trains?

    Comment by Anthony — 11:32 pm September 26, 2012 #

  67. It’s almost midnight in Gatewood and its still humming away. Police will respond to noise complaints immediately if disrespecting neighbors sleep, yet it will take weeks to handle something obviously annoying to a whole region

    Comment by Cmd — 11:51 pm September 26, 2012 #

  68. Wow, can hear it clear as a bell when I go out on my back porch, 35th & Willow. Nearly midnight now, wtf? Looks like CalPortland needs to be sanctioned in some way.

    They’re obviously not taking this seriously if they’ve already been given the heads-up but continue to do it anyway.

    Comment by brizone — 11:57 pm September 26, 2012 #

  69. I have worked directly across the river from CalPortland for 21 years, rotating shifts and have never heard that sound. How does it make it up and over the hill and is barely if at all audible on this side?

    Comment by Pegglish — 2:44 am September 27, 2012 #

  70. I stand corrected. I had to practically wade in the river to hear it, but it is humming away over there. Spewing lots of nasty dust in the air also. Would it be that difficult to get someone from DPD to come out at night to hear it or are there some sort of politics at play here?

    Comment by Pegglish — 4:08 am September 27, 2012 #

  71. Hum in effect all last night and continuing at this moment (Thursday morning, 6:30 am)

    What if everyone on the Blog who heard this thing called police at the same time? Like, everyone listen at 11 pm (governed by noise ordinance) and if there’s a hum – everyone call?

    Comment by anonyme — 6:34 am September 27, 2012 #

  72. I’m at Roxbury and 21st, and have heard the hum as well off and on… it’s been really bad the last few evenings/mornings… was still hearing it at 7:30am this morning (I think it’s still going, just a little more muffled by typical daytime background noise). I can’t believe that the City of Seattle isn’t being more active in figuring this out and shutting it down. Also, I want to point out that it’s not very clear who people should be contacting at gov. I think a lot of people just don’t know who to email/call, so don’t do anything.

    Comment by iyyy69 — 8:34 am September 27, 2012 #

  73. heard it this morning, 9/27, at 4 am, only lasted about 10 minutes then I couldn’t hear it any-more.
    I don’t know why, but that is the only time of day I’ve heard it recently…hopefully now that the source is identified, it can be stopped.

    Comment by sam-c — 8:36 am September 27, 2012 #

  74. That is definitely the sound! I continue to hear it from 32nd and Trenton. Many, many thanks to Tracy, Lafarge, WSB, and Fellow Bloggers!

    Comment by alex — 8:44 am September 27, 2012 #

  75. Jaydee,

    It sounds like you got your answer in the rest of the comments. Blowers are certainly a big part of industry around here. I work at a company opposite from Cal-Portland in Georgetown. We do repairs on these blowers all the time. It does sound like a harmonic going on, with a sine wave developing between a couple pieces of rotating equipment. Silencers can be installed on blowers, but I can’t speak this particular situation. I live up in Shorewood, and often hear tug boats going by in the sound who have twin locomotive engines not quite dialed in, and you get a sine wave going on. In the marine industry electronic engine controls can adjust that away automatically.

    Comment by Jim — 9:54 am September 27, 2012 #

  76. This sound kept me awake from 2:30 to after 4. My pillow was vibrating! Morgan Junction area…

    Comment by keh — 10:14 am September 27, 2012 #

  77. This certainly sounds like the NPR clip, and is quite close to what I can hear from Delridge/Trenton.

    Is the sound reflecting off of a temperature inversion and traveling much further than it normally would? Somebody email Jeff Renner…

    Comment by Sky2625 — 5:42 pm September 27, 2012 #

  78. Jim Forman solved the mystery and said it was the midshipman fish, so obviously this article is wrong, because Jim Forman never is!

    Comment by Jason — 7:16 pm September 27, 2012 #

  79. Thank you again Tracy and Patrick for the excellent ground level reporting you are doing. You are an asset for our local community and the city at large.

    Keep up the good work.

    Comment by Kay K — 8:27 pm September 27, 2012 #

  80. Hearing the hum right now. We are just West of Morgan Junction.

    Comment by Karen — 10:14 pm September 27, 2012 #

  81. Make it Stop! Thank you WSB for organizing the random questions and keeping us on task. As with others, I’m shocked at how far it can be heard.

    Comment by Seattle Mama — 7:03 pm September 28, 2012 #

  82. I have heard of a mysterious hum sound in other parts of the world, even this year! They heard a hum seemingly coming from the sky in Costa rica, Norway and the Ukraine. They have talked about it on the nightly radio station known as Coast to Coast AM, they also have a website. Maybe its the same thing?

    Comment by Maybe? — 10:47 pm September 29, 2012 #

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