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Letter: Koch’s geothermal system isn’t the standard

Pipes carry water into and out of a

Pipes carry water into and out of a rock quarry as part of a geothermal lake cooling system at the Nashville International Airport Tuesday, May 17, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. The airport has begun using an abandoned quarry to halve its cooling costs by taking advantage of the reservoir's year-round 50-degree temperature. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) Photo Credit: AP

Geothermal systems need not draw on the public water supply

The Long Island Geothermal Energy Organization would like to clarify a point in Newsday’s article “Program aims to curb East End water use” [News, Aug. 17], and Michael Dobie’s Aug. 20 item from The Point newsletter , “The most quenched L.I. lawn of them all.”

Both quote an inaccurate statement made by a David Koch spokeswoman that increased water usage is required for his geothermal system, and that’s the reason for his high water use. Koch’s system uses public drinking water for his open loop geothermal system. This is not the standard approach recommended by our organization and others in the geothermal industry. It’s unnecessary and increases the demand on the public water supply.

Standard practice is to use groundwater pumped from on-site supply wells, not public water. The same water is then returned to the aquifer through separate return wells after exchanging heat with the heat pumps.

The cost of drilling on-site wells to replace the use of public water could be recouped quickly by avoiding the high price of paying for public water.

That a billionaire who made his fortune in part from fossil fuels has a geothermal system for his home is a testimony to the merits of geothermal heating and cooling.

John Rhyner and John Franceschina, Bohemia

Editor’s note: The writers are board members of the Long Island Geothermal Energy Organization, a nonprofit that promotes geothermal heating and cooling.

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