As the saying goes, “It’s always darkest before the dawn.”
But such words may have little consolation for Mammoth residents who live near Alpine Circle.
These residents have been subject to the exploratory geothermal drilling project being conducted in the area by Brittania Pacific.
The company hopes to integrate geothermal energy into a proposed boutique hotel project, “Mammoth View.”
However, various snags have extended the drilling project for a month past its forecast completion date.
And the Town’s Senior Public Works Inspector, Ron Fansler, said there’s still approximately one week to go.
This is not music to the ears of neighbor Marc Fathauer.
“I’m here to tell you that Mammoth Lakes Police Dept. has done nothing to date despite 3 complaints. The noise at our house, 424 Alpine, directly above the site, is unbearable at this point. During the winter, when snowbanks were high and all of our windows were closed the noise was borderline. Now it is excruciating.
They abuse the hours they are allowed. Sound level off my deck averages in excess of 80db-A weighted for 10 hours a day. I’ve registered 93 db. When officer David Scobie was at my house Sat morning, he was only 3 feet away from me and we could not hear each other talk. My kids are irritable and can’t play outdoors. My dogs are going deaf.
I’ve got nothing against geothermal. I’ve been told that they are allowed to reach 85db by police. This is incorrect if you look at the Town noise regulations.”
Indeed, Town regulations state that exterior noise limits for heavy industrial use are 75 decibels.
“No person shall operate or cause to be operated any source of sound at any location within the town … which causes the noise level when measured on any other property to exceed the noise standard for that land use … for a cumulative period of more than 30 minutes in any hour.”
The drilling, say neighbors, goes on for two and three hours at a time.
Paul Freyman, who lives about a block away from the site, characterized it as “a pretty loud nuisance. It’s quiet now,” he said Monday morning. “Other times, it sounds like a jet taking off.”
All Freyman (and Fathauer) really wanted to know was, “How much longer is this going to go on?”
Fansler said (corroborated by Brittania’s President Eva Hill) that drilling is expected to end next week.
Fansler said delays have been caused by massive equipment breakdowns and a reshuffling of personnel.
Sheet: Do you think the company has complied with Town regulations?
Fansler: Yes, I feel like they’ve complied … and it’s a huge bonus for the town, [what they’ll discover]. It saves us from [spending the money to] finding out for ourselves.”