OTTAWA - Ottawa has dispatched a man to southwestern Ontario to get to the bottom of a mystery noise plaguing Windsor residents.
The "Windsor hum" — described as a low frequency rumbling sound — has been sparking complaints from residents on the city's west side for more than a year.
A federal study suggests the hum may be coming from the U.S. side of the Detroit River, in the general area of Zug Island, an industrial site.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Friday he was sending his parliamentary secretary to look into the issue and find ways of dealing with it.
Bob Dechert was to speak with Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis as well as various U.S. state and federal officials.
He also planned to tour Zug Island as part of his mission.
"The Windsor hum is having a negative effect on the day-to-day lives of Windsor residents," Baird said in a statement.
"We are prepared to collaborate with stakeholders and other levels of government to identify the source of the problem so that potential mitigation measures can be designed and implemented."
The hum has become a significant annoyance in the border city, with an estimated 22,000 residents taking part in a telephone forum held by the city in February.
Jim Bradley, Ontario's environment minister, sent letters to municipal, state and federal officials in the United States late last month, asking them to take action on the problem. The ministry has received close to 500 complaints about the noise, Bradley said.
In a letter to the mayor of River Rouge, Mich., Bradley said Natural Resources Canada used specialized equipment to monitor the "low hum and rumbling noise pollution" from June 15 to Aug. 25, 2011.
"The monitoring data confirmed the vibration is acoustic noise and its source being the area of approximately one square kilometre in or near Zug Island in the City of River Rouge."
A report was sent to the City of River Rouge, Bradley said in the letter, adding it was hoped the city would find the cause of the noise and take action to stop it.
"However, City of River Rouge officials have since made it clear to the public that the municipality is refusing to take action," he said.
Bradley has asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to step in and investigate.
Meanwhile, Dechert was to meet with representatives of the Great Lakes Commission, the Council of Great Lakes Industries, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments and the Regional Office of the International Joint Commission while in the area.
Baird's office says the objective of the meetings is to seek advice and recommendations on a possible solution to the problem.