Geothermal line bursts behind Boise High School
A geothermal line burst behind Boise High School on Thursday morning, closing the nearby street, although the school remained open.
The line burst on Franklin Street, between 9th and 13th streets, according to a tweet from the Boise School District. First responders went to the scene and drivers were asked to avoid the area.
Boise Public Works spokesman Colin Hickman said that the leak occurred just after 7 a.m. and that the city was notified around 8 a.m. Public works isolated the leak, and crews then worked to assess the problem, he said. Franklin Street between 10th and 11th streets was closed for the repairs.
Last month, the Statesman reported that Downtown Boise saw two major geothermal system leaks, due in part to aging infrastructure.
The cold weather did not contribute to the leak Thursday, Hickman said. He did not know the cause of the leak but noted that some of the pipes were installed in the 1980s and all of the infrastructure is buried, making it a challenge to assess needed repairs.
The city-owned geothermal system heats more than 6 million square feet in 89 buildings Downtown, with 1.5 million gallons of hot water running through 20 miles of underground pipeline per day, according to previous reporting.
The water comes from an aquifer that lies beneath Boise. It’s about 177 degrees Fahrenheit when the city extracts it with a pump near the Military Reserve archery range just northeast of Downtown.
Boise leaders have said that over the next two to three decades, they hope to eliminate, or at least sharply reduce, the use of fossil fuels for electricity within city limits. The city has scheduled several open house events through Dec. 13 to explain the renewable energy initiative and get feedback.