Bridgehampton Library Looking To Replace Faulty Geothermal Heating System

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Officials at the Hampton Library in Bridgehampton are looking to replace a faulty geothermal heating system installed at the facility as part of a larger project in 2008.

According to Kelly Harris, director of the Hampton Library, her staffed first noticed a problem with the heating system in August 2013. Since then, it was discovered that large amounts of iron that were not present in the well water when the unit was installed is polluting the system, causing it to malfunction.

Library officials would not say how much the system cost to install, or who was responsible for the installation.

This week, both Ms. Harris and Library Board President Elizabeth Kotz confirmed that the board of directors is working to find a solution to the problem, which could include removing the geothermal system and replacing it with a traditional heating, ventilation, and air conditioning unit.

“After speaking with professionals involved in geothermal systems, including engineers, well companies and HVAC specialists, it became clear our problem is unique in how quickly and dramatically iron fouling occurred,” Ms. Harris said in an email statement this week. “We have been diligent in our actions to find out why the system failed and researching the best way to fix it.”

According to Ms. Harris, a geothermal system works by using the ground to keep water needed to run the system at a constant temperature. The system then pulls water from a source well before being returned into one of two return wells on the premises.

The geothermal system was installed at the library during the $6 million renovation and expansion in September 2008. It is unclear at this time exactly how much the system cost to install.

“We are currently working with engineers to solve the problem, but we are in the very beginning stages and have yet to secure a contract,” Ms. Kotz said via email this week. “We are at loss as to how rapidly and why the system failed. The quality of the water in the well fouled quickly when the iron level spiked and ultimately clogged the machinery.”

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