Geothermal Well Design Review

Client: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Sector: Institutional
Location: Boston, MA
Service: Sustainable Development, Permitting & Compliance, Construction Support

The Challenge:

boston-ma-isabella-stewart-gardner-museum-sustainable-institutionalIn 2012, Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum underwent a $118 M expansion to more than double the size of the current facility. The project was to be LEED Certified and included a geothermal system, consisting of eight 1,500 foot deep wells, designed to provide up to 170 tons of cooling,

The Environmental Services Provided:

SAK provided geologic and engineering expertise in well design and construction, on-site inspection, compliance with contract documents, geologic and aquifer condition assessment, water quality testing, and system troubleshooting. SAK reviewed the geothermal well design details and specs prepared by the design team and acted as an intermediary underground specialist and permit compliance monitoring during well construction. Proper construction was crucial to ensure the geothermal wells would achieve their maximum performance. SAK Environmental’s construction monitoring and geologic expertise were instrumental in producing a design modification to address a zone of soft, flaking bedrock that threatened to obstruct well water.

Additionally, wastewater discharge from the construction of the deep geothermal wells required pretreatment prior to discharge into the nearby Charles River. The discharge was permitted under a federal NPDES RGP and BWSC permits. Water quality sampling, laboratory testing, and analysis was needed to comply with regulatory agency environmental permits. SAK prepared and submitted discharge monitoring reports (DMR) from flow data to calculate discharge and submitted water quality data to EPA Region 1 to satisfy permit conditions. SAK field engineers were able to identify and troubleshoot problems with TSS in the discharge to allow construction to continue expeditiously.

Summary of Services

  • Permitting & Compliance
  • NPDES Permit Compliance Testing
  • Wastewater Discharge Management
  • Geologic consulting
  • System Troubleshooting
  • Regulatory Coordination

The Result:

The geothermal well system is successfully providing efficient and cost-effective heating and cooling for the newly expanded and renovated Museum, adding energy efficiency to a number of green elements in the project. The new wing opened to an excited public and received LEED Gold certification from US Green Building Council.