Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet

For immediate release
September 21, 2021

Nicole Large
[email protected]

Ted Rueter
[email protected]


Chapel Hill: Wadsworth, Illinois, a municipality lying between Chicago and Milwaukee, has won this month’s “Noisy Dozen” award from Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet for allowing a torrent of construction noise.tractors

Nicole Large, a Wadsworth resident, stated, “Imagine living near a loud, unpredictable road construction project that does not have an end in sight. Imagine that you are constantly hearing repetitive sirens and alarms intended to inform you of danger. Imagine that at any moment you can hear a dump truck repeatedly banging their heavy truck bed into the ground. Imagine that this is what you hear in your kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and backyard. You can’t escape it at your home. Imagine further that you have a constant streaming of dump trucks speeding up and down your neighborhood’s street. That is the plight of the neighborhood along Dilleys Road in Wadsworth, Illinois.”

In 2014, the board of trustees for the village of Wadsworth approved a new “business” use for a vacant agricultural land that sits in a majority-residential area. What came with that change has been endless back-up beepers on heavy construction equipment that smash, grind, excavate, and crush road materials during virtually all daylight hours, six days a week.

As part of the operation, the site receives broken road concrete via truck for crushing. The crushed stone is stored in piles, pending shipping via truck. The peaceful environment in the neighborhood has been demolished. The noises expand well beyond the construction site, which does not have any noise barriers between it and the neighborhood.

Additionally, this site doesn’t have a sign or an address marker. New buyers or homeowners have no idea what is in their backyards until they start experiencing problems. Homeowners who have been here longer say they had no way of knowing where the noise is coming from—and thus could not report it.

The site’s owners are Campanella & Sons, Inc. doing business as River Rock Holdings, LLC and Aggregate Supply, LLC. They are a well-known woman-owned business which has political influence in Illinois. Wadsworth’s village hall lies next to a field named for Campanella. The company’s owners reside in Wadsworth–but on the other side of town from the problem site. One would hope that a company with a seemingly good reputation would be willing to adjust their practices to make their work areas healthier.

Wadsworth and Lake County government have noise and nuisance ordinances. Campanella chooses not to follow these laws–and yet nothing is done to curb their activity.

According to Nicole Large, “So far, the village government has listened to the neighbors but not acted upon enforcing any of the village codes on nuisance prohibition, unnecessary noise, and vibrations. These are each sufficiently broad laws to apply to the construction company using the site.”

Yes, residents could voice their concerns of the site to the board the day it was approved. But neighbors did not realize how degrading this new business would be to their lives until it was up and running. And now the village frequently does not respond to residents’ concerns.

Many neighbors have given up, because of a lack of control over when the sounds are heard and their own concerns being ignored by village officials for years. But there are a few that continue to voice their concerns to village officials. One resident reminisced that “Wadsworth used to live up to their motto of ‘a village of Country living.’ But there isn’t much quiet or quant about the goings-on here during the spring, summer, and fall.”

Another Wadsworth resident commented that the sounds are so loud and piercing that it feels like their house was moved on to the site, asking “Can the village consider restricting their hours so we can enjoy the outdoors in the months we can actually spend in our yards?” Another neighbor replied, “I can hear the beeping sirens even inside my house with the windows closed. My house rumbles from the trucks’ vibrations.”

Beyond being annoying, the noises and vibrations proliferating the neighborhood’s environment affect the well-being of residents. During daylight hours, Campanella has dump trucks, concrete crushers, and other heavy equipment rocking the neighborhood. Neighbors are on constant alert with all of the beeping back-up trucks. High blood pressure, anxiety, and migraines are some of the resulting health conditions affecting residents.

According to David C. Goldman of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences National Center, “Noise pollution chips away at the public health, interfering with our immune systems, learning, and sleep, boosting stress hormones, and contributing to cardiovascular maladies, even at levels too low to cause hearing damage.”

Residents are working on uploading videos of the sounds here.

Residents have long disagreed with this land usage and remain confused as to why the village effectively “bait and switched” the planned land use at the site. Residents were first told that this construction company site would be “temporary.” However, a month later, it became a permanent fixture of life in the otherwise quiet residential neighborhood.

Yet the village board departed from the zoning code and granted special privileges to the proprietors of the site, zoning it similar to a restaurant or gas station, and thus not regulating it for what it truly is. According to the American Planning Association, it is not the name of an industry that determines whether it is more or less obnoxious; rather, it is the external effects of the industrial operations.

Industries are to be classified and grouped solely on the basis of external effects. Zoning districts would be described by listing the measurable limits of noise, and vibration that would be permitted for any industrial use in that particular district but the uses would not be listed by name.

By zoning the site and activities as a “business” and not “industrial,” the village has taken a stance that it is not necessary to monitor the external effects of the site, including the noise and vibrations, no matter how obnoxious, consistent or piercing.

Area companies similar to Campanella & Sons are not this close to residential neighbors or the materials site was there before the neighborhood was there. In our case, the neighborhood was here first.

Additionally, the village has enabled the site to work beyond the noise-restricted hours of Lake County, Illinois as well. So even the hope of not hearing the beepers until 8:00 am on Saturday doesn’t exist. Residents have been told to call the county sheriff to report noise complaints, but the sheriff only enforces the noise-restricted hours, not the volume or persistence of the trucks beeping or the heavy equipment booming. And it should be known that residents here believe the sheriff does have more important public safety work to attend to, rather than being called out for this easily solvable situation.

A village official has stated that the village board is concerned that they may face a lawsuit from Campanella if they enact restrictions. The village board must now pay attention to their affected residents and fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities and act–even if they have cast votes supportive of Campanella in the past.

Village officials must realize that they have a responsibility to reduce noise. The Noise Control Act of 1972 establishes a national policy to promote an environment for all Americans free from noise that jeopardizes their health and welfare.

Residents have provided the village with possible alternatives to the back-up beepers, including (1) An “observer/ signal person,”  whereby a human being who warns when there is a danger; (2) a “white sound” alarm, manufactured by Brigade Electronics, which can only be heard in the danger zone (rather than from many blocks away); and (3) the variable loudness “Smart Alarm” manufactured by ECCO, which retails for $83.01.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration agrees that methods such as these are effective alternates to back-up beepers

Those wishing to offer support for the plight of the Dilleys Road neighbors may contact members of the village board and its Administrator:

Village President
Glenn Ryback    [email protected]
Village Trustees
Millie Corder    [email protected]
Ben Dolan  [email protected]
Ken Furlan   [email protected]
Geralyn Hansen [email protected]
Bob Hayden  [email protected]
Fred Witte   [email protected]
Interim Village Administrator
Dave Kwiecinski   [email protected]



Noise Free America: A Coalition to Promote Quiet is a national citizens’ organization opposed to excessive noise. Past “winners” of the Noisy Dozen award include the Chicago Helicopter ExpressEvanston, Illinois; and Appleton, Wisconsin.