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Loud leaf blowers halting work at Capitol in Olympia?

Noisy leaf blowers are apparently keeping important business from happening on the capitol campus in Olympia, and they're looking for a solution. (PRNewsFoto/Troy-Bilt, Mike Wilkes)

Noisy leaf blowers are apparently keeping important business from happening on the Capitol campus in Olympia.

A report from The Olympian said that because the old gas-powered leaf blowers are too loud, they are purchasing new blowers outfitted with mufflers for a total cost of $3,500.

KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson went to Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman for some answers.

She tells Monson the problem was recently brought up by Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark.

“The issue was raised by the commissioner because when they are doing the leaf blowing around buildings, it makes it impossible to have a conversation on the phone, for people trying to do their work or having a meeting,” says Wyman. “We kind of talked about it and said, well is there any way we can maybe reduce the sound so people could do their jobs.”

Wyman says a number of ideas were proposed to combat the problem. One that would have cost quite a bit more than new blowers was rakes. The Olympian quotes the cost of that change at around $256,000 a year for additional staff that would need to be hired. Wyman says that clearly wasn’t a good option.

“That was certainly where I was kind of going. Well that is just stupid and that wouldn’t be a good solution.”

Monson says leaf blowers are loud everywhere and people typically just deal with it. He doesn’t understand why workers in Olympia can’t just do the same.

“A different set of leaf blowers for you guys versus us seemed a little silly to me,” he says.

Wyman says she agrees and thinks the most pragmatic solution she heard was a suggestion that they just do the leaf blowing early in the morning so it wouldn’t disrupt people’s work. All things considered, she says it’s not that serious of a problem.

“As my kids would say, it’s a #firstworldproblem kind of thing,” says Wyman.

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