Ball State University Continues Campus-Wide Geothermal Drilling Project

The Star Press in Muncie, Indiana, reports Ball State University’s board of trustees on July 19 approved a $339 million general fund budget for 2013-14 and authorized construction to proceed on the second phase of the nation’s largest geothermal energy system.

Beginning in October or November, the west campus field across from IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital, where the marching band sometimes practices, will be torn up as more geothermal borehole drilling begins. The field is also used for intramural and recreational sports.

The state appropriated $30 million for phase two of the project, which includes drilling 1020 boreholes in the west campus field and a nearby parking lot or two, said Jim Lowe, Ball State’s director of engineering.

The former soccer field in the west campus field was just recently re-sodded after the drilling of 780 boreholes turned that area to mud.

During phase one, the university drilled 1800 boreholes on intramural athletic fields on the north side of campus, west of the Duck Pond, and constructed an energy station.

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  1. HI, I need help. We have a geo system for hentiag and cooling. We are in NY, the north east climate zone. You seem to know your stuff out west. My issue is SOUND ABATEMENT. We have a closed loop system that chugs and vibrates loudly, turns off and on at 15-17 minute intervals, and the vibration and noise is very difficult to deal with, especially at night when the noise level, bearable during the day, makes sleeping impossible. Can you suggest something to help us out? We are living here for 4 months and we are at wits end and need some sleep. We opted to pay and install this system because we believe in energy efficiency and leaving less of an imprint on the planet but we are having huge regrets and cannot recommend geo energy to anyone. Just the opposite. We would tell everyone still buying and building in the complex here or anywhere to stay way from the extra installation cost because you will regret it in the long run because of the noise.This is a slab attached house condo set-up. The geo shed (formerly the attached patio furniture storage shed) holds the pump unit and the piping from it goes up through the attic and comes down into the mechanical room in our condo unit. This shed is right next to the master bedroom. All of the piping for this system runs along the connecting wall to the other unit and is where the 2 bedroom are. There is nowhere to sleep to get away from the noise and vibration. We did not see how the closed loop coil was put in the ground but we are told the coil was put below the frost line.This was land previously used for a quarry and it appears the soil is quite grainy.Do you know of anything to help with this sound issue? Is it normal for these type of closed loop systems to run so noisily and so often?Can you help with any suggestions. No one here has any answers.Thank you so much for listening. Please help.

    • A Master Ground Water Contractor recommends this:

      Sounds like the system has air in the lines. Rapid change in the velocity of glycol and air creates the chugs and vibration noise.
      Could have issues with the compressor itself. System may have frozen and pipes split and is leaking.

      Hiring a profession to come out and perform a few tests should be able to correct the problem and make the system as quite
      as a church mouse.

      This is NOT something a home owner can take care of without hiring someone good that knows what they are doing to get this

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