Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I have asked that residents be provided with an update at our July 18th Town Board meeting of the library construction---budget and geothermal status.


Anonymous said...

Can we add to the agenda the supervisor providing infor on what happened to all the westhelp money.

hal samis said...

Regarding the geothermal contract which was awarded...
By bidding regulations, all five contracts had to be bid together.

That said, at the time of bidding, the plan was to drill 5 open loop wells at a depth of 1500 feet.

After the drilling contract was awarded, around $500,000 of cost from memory, the Library team confirmed that they would indeed have to respect the NYC water aquaduct and thus to avoid seeking the required permits that they told the Public were already "in the bag", the geothermal drilling concept changed radically.

Now, the plan is to drill 40 closed loop wells, each to a depth of 500 feet and thereby avoiding the need to obtain permits, although they probably still need to obtain an easement over the aquaduct.

In an open loop system, you drill to find existing water and it then is brought to the surface, used then disposed of, bringing its warmer and colder temperatures from its existing subsurface origin.

In a closed loop system, the same water continuously circulates and being warmed and cooled by the subservice temperatures where it is returned only to be sent back up after. Since it is only 500 feet down (not 1500), the effect is lessened and thus the need for more wells.

But here's the thing that they are not discussing. The underground water is transported by PIPES and this creates these new calculations.

5 wells @ 1500' = 7500 feet of pipe

40 wells @ 500' = 20,000 feet of pipe PLUS because,
it is 500' DOWN and 500' UP being a closed LOOP system.
THUS, what is needed is 40,000 feet of pipe.
And, whereas the 5 wells were in close proximity to the intake in the Library structure, the 40 wells will need more pipe to lead from under the parking areas (where the drilling is being done) to the Library structure...but why complicate things.

So, if anyone thinks that in addition to SETTING UP 40 drilling locations vs 5 drilling locations and 40,000 feet of pipe vs 7500 feet can be done for the same dollar amount as per the existing contract specs, then hang your stocking up early this year because Santa's sled may be starting sooner to allow for security checks at the North Pole.

By the way, the Public has been told that over time the system will more than pay for itself. Can't quarrel with those numbers.
But what is not said is that seldom does the system last long enough for "over time" to be reached. Which means that the more costly system will not pay for itself.

But the Library team are experts, we have been told. And when the change order reaches the Town meeting agenda, be aware that the drilling contract will not be the only "unplanned" change order that the Town Board will be voting on.

Hey, it's your Library. If something costs more than anticipated, then something promised will be taken away. But the Town Council will say that Al Regula said everything is ok. And the last to know, the Library Board of Trustees, still thinks that everything is ok.

But the news is coming.

Michael Kolesar said...

Dear Hal,

First, I repeat that I am fortunate not to be paying for this "disaster".

Did anyone actually provide any analysis as to how this would "pay for itself over time"? What are the ongoing operating costs of this system, i.e. pumps cost money to run, pumps need maintenance, pumps wear out vs. how much energy costs will be saved, i.e how many BTUs per hour does this generate and what are the assumptions as to the future costs of those "saved" BTU's. And then there's the interest cost on this - doubt that that was included in any analysis.

I probably know the answer and that is that no such analysis / justification has been done, but since you are closer to this than I am, I just thought that I'd ask.