Iceland Finds Noise Solution By MATTHEW ARTZ

Tuesday October 18, 2005

Berkeley Iceland will apparently remain open for business after city officials approved its proposal to quiet the rink’s temporary refrigeration system, which the city feared would disturb neighbors. 

The temporary system could be in place at the rink’s parking lot on the corner of Milvia and Ward streets as early as the end of the week, said Manuel Ramirez, the city’s environmental health manager. 

Iceland had delayed installing the system because it generated ambient noise readings of 83 decibels, compared with the 67 decibels generated by Iceland’s permanent system. The city’s ambient noise ordinance, passed after the 65-year-old rink started business, prohibits noise levels above 45 decibels. 

To reduce noise levels below 67 decibels as required by the city, Deborah Jue, sound engineer at the Oakland firm Wilson, Ihrig and Associates, proposed a sound blanket covering for the system. 

Jue said the covering, which would be mounted on a frame, would be made of insulated material with a density of one pound per square foot. 

“It’s not like a shower curtain,” she said. If the machine is still too noisy, Jue said, Iceland could also add soundproofing insulation around the exhaust fan. 

Assistant Fire Chief Gil Dong said that with the noise issue apparently resolved “everything appears to be a ‘go’ and is moving forward.” Last week, city safety officials had renewed threats to close the rink after Iceland told them that the temporary system would require a custom-made covering that could take up to four months to install. 

Earlier this year the city ordered Iceland to install the temporary system while the rink upgraded its permanent refrigeration system, which Dong said lacked safety devices and contained too much ammonia for firefighters to contain in a major leak. 

Dong said that once the temporary refrigeration system was installed and met city noise requirements, Iceland would pump out the 4,200 pounds of ammonia in its permanent system. Under an agreement with the city, Iceland can operate the temporary system until April 15 when upgrades to the permanent system must be completed.