Geother­mal line bursts be­hind Boise High School

The Idaho Statesman - - News - BY RUTH BROWN [email protected]­hostates­man.com

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.

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