DEVENS -- Evergreen Solar CEO Richard Feldt outlined to the Devens Enterprise Commission Tuesday night a series of weekend noise studies dating back to Labor Day weekend.
Weekend by weekend analysis shows, he says, that the Devens solar panel manufacturer would be in compliance with the Devens industrial zoning and noise standards if it weren't for one thing.
And so Feldt asked the DEC for an extension, if needed, on its Halloween deadline to prove that they've reached compliant noise levels of 38 decibels during the nighttime and 43 decibels during the daytime hours. The added time might be necessary, Feldt said, depending on when the first frosts of the season take place.
In other words, the crickets must die.
The DEC took Evergreen's extension request under advisement. It also asked a sound expert hired by Harvard neighbors to review and comment on Evergreen's extension request.
DEC Chairman Bill Marshall directed Evergreen Solar's noise expert, Greg Tocci of Cavanaugh Tocci Associates of Sudbury, to share Evergreen Solar's collected raw field data with the neighbors' expert, Michael Bahtiarian of Noise Control Engineering, Inc. of Billerica. It was the same request made of the Evergreen expert at the prior DEC meeting.
"We'd be pleased to send it to him," said Feldt. "Put that on the action list to send it to him.
Among other things, thousands of dollars have been spent by Evergreen to fabricate and install a series of silencers on large industrial scrubbers and air conditioning cooling towers all mounted outside and behind the plant. The company is also working on long-term monitoring solutions, with project specifications in the works for competitive bidding on the needed hardware, software and installation of the equipment. Vendor selection is to be completed Oct. 16 with the permanent sound-monitoring system in place by Dec. 1.
Charles Perry of Old Mill Road in Harvard blasted the delay in resolution of the noise problem he's suffered through for months. "They're a major corporation here. It's time that we get this resolved," said Perry. "I'm looking for them to be in compliance."
However, DEC Land Use Administrator Peter Lowitt disagreed. He said that that compliance can be shown at any point during the daytime. "Background noises go up and down" said Lowitt, before adding that Evergreen should ultimately be issued its final occupancy permit as long as Evergreen isn't the source of the elevated ambient noise. Aggravating noises cited during the Evergreen noise studies include jet plane sounds, trains idling, and truck traffic, among others.
At the DEC's July 14 meeting, a resolution enacted laid out the Halloween deadline and the requirements for Evergreen to attain compliance. If it were to fail to meet the Oct. 31 deadline, Evergreen's temporary occupancy permit was to be revoked and round-the-clock operations at the plant would be forced to cease.
The DEC meets again Oct. 8 at 7 a.m. at the MassDevelopment office on Devens, 33 Andrews Way.