For the week of October 7 thru October 13, 1998  

Natural heat sought for community pool

Express Staff Writer

A community pool has long been a dream of Councilwoman Chris Potters, who has researched geothermal heating options for such a pool extensively over the past year.

Her research took her to Klamath Falls, Ore., to see how geothermal heat can benefit a community. She also convinced the council to spend $1,700 on an assessment by Power Engineers to find out what it would take to get a permit for a geothermal heat source in a pool.

Potters is proposing to transport hot water--about 158 degrees Fahrenheit--from Geyer Hot Springs west of Ketchum through underground pipes to a pool that would share the Park and Ride lot on Warm Springs Road with the proposed Janss Activity Center.

Potters said she already has received permission to use the water for the pool free of charge from Natural Energy Resources, the corporation that owns the land and water rights of the hot springs, located near the city limits farther down Warm Springs Road.

Bryan Rozyla of Power Engineers presented the permit assessment to the council on Monday night. Although Potters had hoped for a "flow-through system," meaning that hot water would be pumped into the pool and then flushed out into the Big Wood River, Rozyla said the cost and energy that would go into obtaining that kind of permit is extensive and exhaustive, due to the special environmental status of the Big Wood River. Instead, he recommended a "re-circulation and filtration" system, where hot water would be pumped into a heat transfer system that would then warm the whole pool.

Potters asked the council to consider investing more time and money into researching how the hot water could be piped back up and returned to its source. The council voted unanimously to solicit requests for proposals by other engineering firms to research the chemical make-up of the hot water, the flow rates, the heat of the water and the economic feasibility of the whole idea.

"Once we decide that it is economically feasible, we have free heat," Potters said. "And there are other uses for the heat. Other businesses proximate in the light industrial zone can tap into the pipe for a source of heat, if they’ll partner in."


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