June 24, 2018
From a public health perspective, the current situation in Bensenville is simply catastrophic. There is no other way to describe it. Per the official Chicago Department of Aviation monthly noise complaint data, residents of the Village of Bensenville have logged over one million complaints for the calendar year 2017. This astonishing number is in sharp contrast with the EIGHTEEN total residential complaints for the calendar year 2012. Critics are correct to note that residents of Bensenville have historically endured aircraft noise due to their proximity to the airport. But by equating noise level impact today as similar to levels in 2012, critics simply ignore current complaint data and noise measurement.
Bensenville is located immediately south of the O’Hare boundary, represents an area of over five square miles and is home to over 18,000 residents. For five years, the O’Hare Modernization Plan has devastated Bensenville. Bensenville surpasses all other surrounding O’Hare municipalities in terms of noise, air pollution, and housing infrastructure damage.
Bensenville is affected by five flight paths (black broken lines below): parallels (1) Berteau 10R/28L, (2) Wilson 10C/28C, (3) Lawrence 10L/28R; and the two remaining northeast to southwest diagonals (4) 4L/22R and (5) 4R/22L. A sixth parallel flight path will affect northern Bensenville when the expanded runway is activated in 2021 (red broken line): (6) Thorndale 9R/27L. These flight paths affect all homeowners in the municipality. Countless schools, parks and commercial business districts are directly under or adjacent to these six flight paths.
Bensenville residents under the O’Hare flight paths experience jet noise in the range of 95 - 120 decibels on a 24/7 basis. In some cases, like the Hillside Drive community just north of Irving Park Road, aircraft noise has made living there uninhabitable. Regular noise monitoring in that location records consistent sound levels exceeding 120 decibels. (120 decibels is considered physically damaging to the human body.) These residents experience chronic stress and sleep disturbance, and are ultimately at risk for developing cardiovascular disease, arterial hypertension, stroke, and heart failure.
Because of its shared border with O’Hare, Bensenville residents harmfully inhale and have skin-contact with a daily dose of toxins from jet air pollution and ultrafine particulates. The highest concentration of ultrafine particulates, black carbon, and nitrogen oxides (over 10 times above normal) are within the confines of Bensenville. Schools and homes within Bensenville are being inundated with an overwhelming source of air pollution. The long-term impact on Bensenville residents’ health could be catastrophic, particularly for school children and the elderly.
Bensenville residents logged 1,177,715 noise complaints for calendar year 2017. For the month October 2017, residents logged their greatest number of complaints at 125,854; the highest figure ever recorded in Bensenville’s history. In comparison, the monthly complaint average for 2012 (before the full O’Hare runway build-out and activation) was 2!