Marghera City, in the province of Venice, Italy, recently invested in a audio warning system incorporating Community loudspeakers. The tower-mounted speakers alert they city's residents of any airborne toxic fumes or harmful chemicals emanating from a nearby industrial plant.
The Italian city is situated on the area of dry land facing Venice, and has grown in size since it was established as an industrial area and port in the early 20th century.
Following decades of concern due to toxic and harmful chemical materials used in the industrial facility, which is located close to the residential area of the city, the Servizio di Protezione Civile of the City of Venice recently opted to implement an acoustic alarm system. The new system would quickly warn residents of toxic pollutants in the air and allow residents and the relevant authorities to operate pre-planned actions and counter-measures.
The Consorzio Venezia Ricerche (CVR, Venice Research Consortium), which had recently completed a similar project for the flood defence system for Venice, was charged with the design of the system and defining and managing the various installation stages.
Sofitel from Treviso managed installation of the system, while the acoustic simulation activities were carried out in full within the CVR by the Marghera Acoustical Warning System task force. CVR’s team included Marco Ferrari for the architecture of the communication system and Gianluca Sorbara for the electrical aspects. Coordination was handled by the acoustic and electro-acoustic expert Umberto Nicolao, who also managed the overall design.
The system utilises the water tower of Marghera, one of the highest buildings available, as a central ‘acoustic lighthouse’. The tower is fitted with thirty Community PC1542M loudspeakers with M4 drivers, covering a precise 220º horizontal. Critical coverage angles were calculated and implemented to avoid nearby ‘Cita skyscrapers’ from excessive SPL. In addition to the central tower, and to create an acoustic umbrella of typically higher than 75 dB-A over the city, Nicolao designed five additional sub-locations each using four Community RSH462 loudspeakers.
A Biamp Vocia system VA8600 system controls the audio network and automated monitoring, while AM600C power modules drive the Community loudspeaker systems.
Building on and adapting the extensive acoustic transmission and perception work carried out on the Venice system, the warning tones of the system have been finely tuned to give appropriate warnings without creating undue alarm.
The sophisticated warning system combined with the appropriate counter-measures has given the residents of Marghera City the level of security they have sought for many decades.