Significant Panel on Geo Wells in Maine

From Jim Ashley, President, NEGPA

NEGPA members – A great event in Augusta, ME on Tuesday, March 29th.

This looks like a good opportunity for geo professionals.

Good to see NEGPA members – Skillings are speaking too. I expect to be attending this conference and hope to see you and other NEGPA members there too.

See below or click here for more info.


All-Day Session

Session Chair:
Clifford R. Lippitt, CG, PG, CPG; Senior Geologist, S.W. Cole Engineering, Inc.

Not the hot spring or volcanic heat source associated with geothermal power systems of the western U.S. or Iceland, groundsource heat exchange (GHEX) applications utilize the relatively uniform and constant temperatures of the soil, bedrock and groundwater in the upper 1,500 feet of the earth’s surface. In New England (and elsewhere) there has been an increase in GHEX system applications for both new and retrofitted construction to business, municipal, institutional, and residential projects. This session will include a discussion of the types of GHEX systems, with discussion of regulatory requirements and presentations of methods for the evaluation, design, installation, operation and maintenance of systems as applied in Maine or elsewhere in New England. Case studies will include system design and construction and application challenges associated with this technology.

Morning Session:


Clifford R. Lippitt, CG, PG, CPG; Senior Geologist, S.W. Cole Engineering, Inc.


Groundsource Heat Exchange – An overview
Clifford R. Lippitt, CG, PG, CPG; Senior Geologist, S.W. Cole Engineering, Inc.

Cliff will present an overview of the theory and systems associated with GHEX systems. GHEX systems are low temperature geothermal systems that include open-loop/standing column, vertical closed loop, horizontal closed loop/slinky, lake loop, and direct exchange. The types and sizes of systems that have been installed in Maine will be reviewed.


Hydrogeology and Geochemistry Applied to Standing-Column Well Systems
John R. Kastrinos, P.G., LSP, Haley & Aldrich, Inc.

John will discuss the unique well hydraulics and geochemistry of standing-column wells in commercial-scale applications. The presentation will describe how unique geologic and geochemical conditions affected well installation, water circulation, and system performance in several open ground-source heat pump systems in New England. The measures taken to diagnose and repair the circulation problems will also be described.


Open loop and standing column wells: a driller/installer perspective
Scott Abbotts, Goodwin Well and Water Inc.

Scott will examine the benefits of using a Standing Column Well for both domestic water usage and geothermal heating. He will discuss the different types of Standing Column Wells and the effects of using bleed to maximize the performance of the well and the pitfalls of designing a standing column well properly to meet the needs of the domestic usage and geothermal heating needs.

Afternoon Session:


Testing, design and costs comparisons of GHEX systems
John Waitt, Design Day Mechanicals

John will discuss the required procedures outlined in various energy codes used to determine the heating and cooling needs of a building. Both LEED and Energy Star programs use these guidelines to design more energy efficient buildings. John will discuss the energy use impacts of various fossil fuels and geothermal systems using water source heat pumps, in providing the least operational cost and the lesser environmental impact. He will also examine potential issues that can arise when planning to use standing column wells based on two commercial projects designed in the same year that provided two completely different results, once the drilling finished vs. using closed loop systems where the final capacities of the bore-hole field are generally known.


Closed loop system installation considerations: a driller/installer perspective
Roger Skillings, Skillings & Sons, Inc.

Roger will be talking about the installation of ground source closed loop geothermal systems (wells and piping). His presentation will include a discussion of when and why test wells are installed. He will also discuss the timing and purpose of the various tests performed during the system installation. His discussion on piping and well field design will include a discussion of the utilization of a vault in the piping design.

Afternoon Break


Geothermal regulations and Maine’s Underground Injection Control Program: What you need to know
Bill Hinkel, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Supervisor, Industrial and Municipal Wastewater Permitting

Discharges from ground source heat exchangers or geothermal wells are regulated by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection as underground injection wells. Bill will provide an overview of the regulations and discuss the types of discharges that are allowable, those that are prohibited, and explain what is necessary to comply with the UIC rule.


Panel Discussion, Case Studies, Q&A
Based on the extensive and overlapping experience of the speakers, the panel discussion is likely to present a variety of ideas on this topic.

About the Session Chair:

Clifford R. Lippitt, C.G., P. G., C.P.G., joined S.W. Cole Engineering, Inc. as a Senior Geologist in 2003 and assumed the lead role for their low temperature geothermal project services in 2008. These services include thermal properties testing, preliminary sizing and design, and third party inspections. A member of the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA), Cliff has degrees in chemistry (geology minor) and geochemistry. With over 40 years of experience as geologist, geochemist and hydrogeologist, Cliff has worked in Maine since 1981.

About the Author