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Airport Noise Insulation for SSF Property Owners

The City of South San Francisco encourages all residents to contact the City with concerns about Airport Noise related to SFO International Airport.

A designated email address and hotline phone number are established to collect information about Airport Noise within South San Francisco:

Email Address: anip@ssf.net

Hotline Phone Number: (650) 829-6649

NEW SFO Airport Noise Insulation Programs Available 

The City has partnered with SFO to identify property owners interested in pursuing eligibility for Airport Noise Insulation programs administered by SFO. These programs can provide new noise insulation construction for eligible first-time program participants or replacement insulation for previous participants that now find the insulation has deteriorated.

New programs are available through SFO to help property owners who are interested in applying for first time noise insulation work or replacement of deteriorated insulation.  

 Please view the interactive map to see if your residential property may be eligible to apply.  Tip: enter the entire address and then select it in the dropdown menu then zoom out to see if your property is within the boundary.

The San Francisco International Airport’s (SFO) Replacement and Second Chance Noise Insulation Initiative is intended to provide acoustical improvements to qualifying residential properties that meet certain eligibility requirements.  These improvements are offered at no cost to eligible property owners through a Federal Aviation Administration Grant matching program with SFO.  

This initiative has two main components:

  • Second Chance: This initiative gives a second chance to participate in the Noise Insulation Program to owners that did not participate in previous phases of the program.
  • Replacement:  This initiative provides repair or replacement of eligible acoustical improvements to residential properties that were insulated in previous phases of the program, where the improvements have failed.

Please visit the SFO Residential Sound Insulation Program website for more information or to apply. 

Eligibility

To be considered, the residential property must be located inside a specific noise boundary corresponding to the area where the average daily aircraft noise level is equal to or greater than 65 decibels (dB).  This contour is designated as the 65-dB CNEL noise contour in the 2019 SFO Noise Exposure Map (NEM), as accepted by the FAA.  Future phases of this Initiative may consider properties outside this noise contour on a case by case basis, depending on the dwelling’s proximity to the 65-dB contour and availability of funds.

The City has created an interactive map of the 2019 SFO Noise Exposure Map in order to assist property owners to see if their residence may fall within the eligibility boundary.  Eligibility is determined by the FAA and the Airport. The City cannot deem a property eligible, however, city staff will assist property owners if possible.

If your property does not fall within the 2019 NEM boundary, you can still submit an application to SFO (with your name, address plus other relevant information).  These applications will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

To submit applications or determine your property’s preliminary eligibility, please contact:

C. Kell-Smith & Associates, Inc.
Aircraft Noise Insulation Office
Tel:  650.827.3900

Email: info@kell-smith.com

Mail: 723 Camino Plaza #181 San Bruno, CA 94066

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) determine the noise exposure boundaries for a City?

The Federal Noise Exposure Map (NEM) contour is determined through the use of the federally approved noise modelling software known as AEDT. This software takes in the amount of operations over a year, the type of aircraft in use at the given airport, distance being flown by the aircraft, specific runway used and time of day these aircraft operated. Once these values are input the model is run and it derives a noise grid where it then connects the points for similar values giving noise contours; typically in five decibel increments.

What does the FAA 65dB contour mean?

The 65 decibel (dB) Noise Exposure Map or contour depicts an average of aircraft noise levels over the period of one year using a time-weighted energy average. It averages both the loudest and quietest aircraft noise levels during period of heavy and light activity. Further, it takes into account the periods when people are likely to be disturbed by weighting the evening noise events between 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. by adding a weighting penalty of 4.77 decibels. The nighttime hours when people are most likely to be disturbed, from 10:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m., a penalty of 10 decibels is added. Simply put, a single flight's evening noise event is counted as three noise events of the same value. Nighttime noise events are counted as ten noise events of the same value.

If the "perceived" noise level is virtually identical for 2 nearby properties (one inside and the other one outside the contour), why would one dwelling be eligible for insulation and the other one not?

This is an area that some see as a downfall to the use of an absolute definitive line. To counter this the  SFO Airport has worked with the FAA's Airport District Office to use contiguous contours. These contiguous contours typically follow geographic boundaries such as streets, water features and open spaces. Collaboratively, the modelled noise contour is pushed over or out to the next street or feature over effectively enlarging the noise contour, taking in residences that may fall on or outside of the model's computer generated line. 

What if a home outside the SFO Noise Exposure Map is impacted by aircraft noise?

The Airport has worked with the FAA to use contiguous contours that follow geographic boundaries, such as streets, water features, and open spaces. The Noise Exposure Maps often include adjacent streets taking in residences that may fall on or outside of the model's computer generated contour line. If your property does not fall within the 2019 NEM boundary, you can still submit an application to SFO (with your name, address plus other relevant information).  These applications will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

What is the Replacement and Second Chance Noise Insulation Initiative Program?

The Program has two components: The Second Chance Initiative gives owners who did not participate in previous noise insulation programs a second chance to participate. The Replacement Initiative provides repair or replacement of eligible acoustical improvements to residential properties that were insulated in previous noise insulation programs, where the improvements have failed. You can learn more or apply on the SFO website at www.flysfo.com/community/noise-abatement/residential-sound-insulation-program.

How long does it take for the Airport to respond to an application and schedule the insulation work?

The Airport must go through a lengthy process to verify eligibility with the FAA, perform acoustical testing, select and award the construction work to a contractor, and follow all federal grant guidelines.  It may take several months for the Airport to confirm your eligibility. A full description of the approval process is available here.

What is the eligibility criteria?

To be considered for either program, the residential property must be located inside a 2019 Noise Exposure Map for the Airport (“2019 Map”) formally accepted by the FAA. The 2019 Map shows contours for average noise levels at 65 dB or greater associated with aircraft activity.

Additional eligibility criteria include: (1) Construction or significant additions were built before October 1, 1998, (2) A physical survey of the property confirms preliminary eligibility, and (3) The results of acoustical tests in habitable rooms finalizes eligibility.

If my property is eligible, what type of insulation work can I receive?

Allowable improvements may include window and door replacement, caulking, weather-stripping, and installation of central fresh air ventilation (if the residence does not already have central ventilation).  SFO will make the final determination and approve any work.

 

Helpful Links:

City Staff Airport Noise Insulation Staff Report to City Council 8/22/18

Airport Noise Insulation Fact Sheet and FAQs

South San Francisco Interactive Map (eligibility boundary) Tip: enter the entire address and then select it in the dropdown menu then zoom out to see if your property is within the boundary.

SFO Noise Abatement Information

SFO Replacement and Second Chance Initiative

SFO Residential Sound Insulation Program

Federal Aviation Administration Aircraft Noise Issues

SFO 2019 Noise Exposure Map (NEM)

SFO Noise Insulation Approval Process