SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Electric car charging stations are all over the Bay Area, and they come with giant fans to cool the devices. But a charging station in one neighborhood is already pushing long-standing residents out of the city.

Imagine having to get up, go to sleep, or work at home and being surrounded by a constant, incessant hum. That's the reality for residents of Clara Street in the SoMa neighborhood after an electric vehicle cooling fan was installed across the street.

It is one of Electrify America's EV charging stations.

“We didn't know what it was until it started spinning and we heard this really loud buzzing noise,” said Matt Babinet, who lives down the street. “Our reaction was really negative, like we were hoping this was just temporary.”

Neighbors say the problem has been going on for six to nine months now and is making it difficult to work or even sleep.

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ABC7 News reporter Stephanie Sierra and photojournalist Mackenzie Stock went to the neighborhood to test decibel levels against the city's noise and sound ordinance.

According to Article 29 of the Police Act, ambient noise of more than 50 to 60 decibels outside a residential building is above the acceptable threshold.

This value is defined assuming that the minimum ambient noise level is between 45 and 55 decibels and the threshold is defined as any value 5 decibels above the current ambient noise.

Based on these guidelines, we conducted a test in front of our neighbor Chuck Zhou's house.

“Chuck, we’re measuring the decibel level right outside your apartment and it’s 70,” Sierra said.

“Yeah, it's crazy. It's like this 24/7, non-stop,” Zhou said.

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The San Francisco Health Department told the I-Team that results vary by study. For example, the city's noise limits vary depending on the type of property and the location of the measurement.

We checked every area of ​​Wilma's house and found that the decibel level was above the required limit for multi-family housing, measured one meter from any wall, ceiling or floor.

Our decibel measurements are not the result of a city or county health department or San Francisco Police investigation. However, we followed city guidelines and used a Radio Shack sound level meter.

On the street, for example, our reading showed 85 decibels, which is above the limit of 53-63 decibels for the exterior of an industrial and commercial building. This value is defined as being eight decibels above the minimum noise level measured on the outside of the building according to the city ordinance.

Electrify America sent us the following statement, which states: “Although our charging station meets all city permit requirements, we have tried several options to address a resident's complaint regarding fan noise.”

But residents claim that this did not happen.

“Electrify America told us they fixed the problem, but they didn't. They didn't even try to fix the problem,” Wilma said. “They just let two days go by and turned it back on.”

According to Electrify America, while the fans have been part of the building for a long time, increased demand from electric vehicle drivers has led to increased use in the evening hours. The fans cannot be turned off because they are critical to the operation of the stations.

The company added that it was exploring the possibility of relocating the fan exhaust outlet, which would require new approval and testing.

Meanwhile, the residents are thinking about moving, and some neighbors have already moved out.

“I will actually consider it. It's unfortunate, but I can't handle it,” Zhou said.

“I hate it. And I feel like it reduces the value of our property,” Babinet said.

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