BATAVIA – Those living near Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory might notice additional noise and traffic once construction starts on the lab’s latest experiment.
The U.S. Department of Energy held a public hearing Wednesday at Fermilab so residents could review and comment on the possible environmental effects of building and operating the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility and the associated Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment.
Construction could begin as early as 2018, with the experiment starting in 2025.
The experiment will send a beam of neutrinos through the earth from Fermilab to the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, South Dakota. Neutrinos are elementary particles that have no electrical charge and are the most abundant particles in the universe, according to Fermilab officials.
With the data, scientists hope to learn about the building blocks of matter and determine the exact role neutrinos play in the universe.
Peter Siebach, National Environmental Policy Act compliance officer for the Department of Energy, told those at the meeting during construction of the experiment, noise levels would temporarily increase above ambient levels at houses directly across Kirk Road. He said blasting, which would be limited to the daytime, could result in noticeable vibration levels in nearby houses and would be monitored.
Siebach also said construction would result in a modest increase in traffic on Kirk and Butterfield Roads.
Batavia resident George Baker, who lives near Fermilab, voiced concerns at the meeting about how the blasting would impact his home’s foundation.
As part of the experiment, plans are to construct four buildings on the Fermilab site, one of which would be about 40 feet high and 160 feet long and be located near Kirk Road and Giese Road.
That building would be connected via a vertical shaft to an underground hall about 200 feet below the Fermilab site.
The project also would include the construction of a 50- to 60-foot-high hill about 1,000 feet from Kirk Road on the Fermilab site, as part of the facility that would create the neutrinos.