The latest industry happenings from the desk of ND's editor.

Geothermal Educational Opportunities

The American Ground Water Trust is presenting a series of one-day seminars titled, “Ground Source Heating & Cooling for Residential and Commercial Properties,” that will delve into the latest technologies, economic advantages, and environmental impacts and regulations of this fast-emerging market.

Seminars take place Aug. 6 in Overland Park, Kan.; Aug. 12 in Boise, Idaho; Aug. 18 in Albany, N.Y.; Sept. 17 in Harrisburg, Pa.; Sept. 22 in Golden, Colo.; Nov. 5 in Raleigh, N.C.; and Nov. 19 in Cincinnati. The cost for general pre-registration is $185.

Today’s ground source heating and cooling (GSHC) technology provides a proven method for saving significant amounts of energy for heating, cooling and hot water generation for any application. Thousands of homes, businesses and manufacturing plants across the nation already are taking advantage of these energy-efficient conditioning systems. GSHC systems operate at significantly lower costs than traditional gas, oil or electric-based installations. National benefits from geo-exchange installations include less demand for energy generation capacity, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a reduced dependence on imports of oil and other fossil fuels.

By definition, installation of ground source systems involves accessing the sub-surface by either excavation or by drilling vertical bores. Because the sub-surface heat-exchange process occurs near or beneath the ground water table, environmental and water resource regulatory questions about design and installation have been raised in some states.

These one-day programs will:
  • Define the “state of the art” in terms of design options and economic payback.

  • Demonstrate the environmental and strategic benefits of the technology.

  • Dispel common myths about the effectiveness, reliability and safety of ground source systems.

  • Explain industry-accepted installation, operation and maintenance practices.

  • Provide an update on various state, local and regulatory oversight recommendations.
The Forum program draws on the experience and expertise of industry and agency professionals, and will provide a unique opportunity for exchange of information among policy makers involved in energy issues and specialists involved with the design, construction and permitting of ground source geo-exchange systems for cooling and heating.

This program will be of interest to professionals who design, install, inspect, approve, recommend or regulate these systems. This technology has the potential to become the technology of choice among those considering green energy alternatives for commercial or residential installations.

For complete details, visit www.agwt.org or telephone 603-228-5444.

EPA Transparency and Enforcement

Excerpted from a memorandum from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Lisa Jackson:

The Clean Water Act plays a central role in protecting this nation’s waters. The American public has a right to expect their water will be clean, and EPA has an obligation to use its resources and authorities to the fullest to ensure this result.  Despite the successes we have achieved over the years, water in the United States is not meeting public health and environmental goals. Too many of our streams, lakes and rivers do not meet our water quality standards.

We are also falling short of this administration’s expectations for the effectiveness of our clean water enforcement programs. Data available to EPA shows that, in many parts of the country, the level of significant non-compliance with permitting requirements is unacceptably high, and the level of enforcement activity is unacceptably low. Our commitment to the rule of law as a foundational principle for EPA requires that we take action against significant violations and that we assure a consistent standard for compliance across the country. A level playing field for enforcement and compliance is important for fair treatment of industrial facilities across the country, and to prevent some regions from achieving an economic advantage over others.

Compliance with the Clean Water Act is a shared responsibility of EPA and the states. I recognize that resources are limited at the federal and state level during these challenging economic times and that we must meet our highest environmental priorities first. However, I believe that, working together with states, there are positive steps we can take quickly to improve compliance and enhance water quality.

The first step is to improve transparency. Americans have a right to know how their government is doing in enforcing laws to protect the nation’s water, and government has an obligation to clearly inform the public about water quality and our actions to protect it. An informed public is our best ally in pressing for better compliance. Therefore, I am directing you to improve and enhance information that is available through the EPA’s Web site on compliance with the Clean Water Act and the level of enforcement activity in each state, showing connections where possible to local water quality. This information should be user-friendly, and provide a way to look at performance of individual businesses, as well as state and national performance. State-by-state performance reports that already have been released under the Freedom of Information Act also should be posted to the Web, together with tools to analyze the data that EPA prepared for those reports.

Secondly, we need to raise the bar for clean water enforcement performance. We must make sure that strong and effective action is taken when serious violations of law threaten water quality, and we must boost EPA’s enforcement presence against serious violators, recognizing that authorized states have the first opportunity to act. EPA also must improve its own enforcement performance in states where EPA directly implements the clean water program. And we must assure that we are doing the work that is most important to clean up our nation’s waters. Because EPA and the states face significant and competing demands for resources, we need to place a high priority on the problems that have the biggest impact on water quality, such as wet weather pollution, which are currently not well represented in the information we have on Clean Water Act compliance.

Thirdly, we need to move EPA’s information technology into the 21st century. We need to transform EPA to be not only a collector and disseminator of information, but also an analytical resource that can present information in a form that easily is understood and useable by the public. We have seen that when information is made public, it can be a powerful tool to help improve the environment directly. We need to launch into a major shift of EPA’s Clean Water Act information systems so that data on both facilities’ discharges and compliance and water quality and other environmental conditions will be readily available and transparent to both federal and state regulators and the public, over the Web, on a real-time basis. 

Drilling Assets Up for Auction

On Oct. 14, Salvadore Auction & Appraisals Inc. will be selling off assets of a water well drilling company in the Worcester, Mass., area. This auction will feature late-model dual-rotary well rigs, conventional top-head-drive rigs, rebuilt cable-tool rigs on late-model truck bodies, crane and picker trucks, support and field equipment, machine shop equipment, a fleet of trucks, pumps and turbines, and much, much more. For more info, visit www.siaai.com, or telephone 401-941-8345.

Gregg Drilling Is Awarded

The 2008 Outstanding Project Award was presented to TerraCosta Consulting Group and Gregg Drilling & Testing, Inc. at CalGeo’s 2009 Annual Conference. The project involved work on a floating dock on San Clemente Island, Calif. Gregg provided overwater drilling and cone penetration testing services.

The projects were evaluated on the following criteria:
  • innovation;
  • difficulty of investigation;
  • quality of geotechnical report;
  • success of interaction between the design team, owner and contractor; and
  • social impact of the project.



Happening Soon: NDA Convention

The National Drilling Association holds its 2009 convention Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at Turf Valley Resort outside of Baltimore. Besides educational seminars, outdoor demonstrations and exhibit tables to keep visitors up to date on the latest industry advances, there will be ample opportunities to socialize with drilling contractors from across the country. For complete details, telephone 216-803-9900. 
ND