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Residents living around BWI deal with increased noise as FAA rolls out 'NextGen'

ELKRIDGE, Md. (WBFF) -- The FAA's "NextGen" is causing frustration among many Howard and Anne Arundel County residents, who claim aircraft noise and frequency of planes have increased.

"It's like listening to a really, really loud dripping faucet. It won't hurt you. But it'll drive you crazy," Barbara Deckert of Elkridge said. "It is as if we have I-95 suspended above our house."

Deckert says she has kept a file on her communication with BWI, the Maryland Aviation Administration, and the FAA.

"All we really want is for the flight paths to be unconcentrated so they're more scattered, and so all of us are subject to more equal amount of noise," Deckert said. "I think it is inhumane that they're subjecting us to this level of noise when we didn't sign up for it."

The FAA describes "NextGen" as "a transformative change in the management and operation of how we fly, which will reduce delays, save fuel and lower carbon emissions."

"NextGen enables the controllers and enables the system to direct the aircraft to the most direct and safest and sometimes more comfortable routes for passengers," George Novak, Aerospace Industries Association Assistant Vice President said. "A lot of this is new. A lot of this will be changed as time goes on. But, in fact, there are new communities being affected by these new flight-paths."

BWI says its noise complaints have risen from 283 in 2013 to 2,694 in 2016. Airport spokesperson Jonathan Dean says the increase can be attributed in part to runway construction and to the fact many people call multiple times.

"When you can predict that you're going to be woken up at 5:30 in the morning because of planes going to come over your house, or when you hear it in the middle of the night, and it wakes you up, that's unacceptable," Gail Sigel of Hanover said.

Howard County Council voted earlier this month to pursue legal action against the FAA in an attempt to rectify what Councilman Calvin Ball says is a quality of life issue.

"Planes come in all hours of the day and night, all levels of frequency, flying lower, closer to their homes," Councilman Ball said. "So many of our neighbors are just feeling like they're prisoners in their own homes. Property values going down."

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