Geothermal Test Well Shows Initial Positive Results



Geothermal Test Well Shows Initial Positive Results



Contact:  Jeff Rice, Utilities Energy Efficiency Manager, 920-5118 or 309-5974 or

Aspen, Colorado – July 25, 2013 – The City of Aspen and its contractor have completed the final stage of drilling a geothermal test well on Neale Avenue and initial test results are positive in terms of pressure, geologic layer and temperature.

The test well, which is 1,520 feet deep, has water flowing to the surface with initial estimates of temperatures being around the 90 degree range at the bottom of the well and just below 70 degrees at the surface.  The City’s consultant, John Kaufman said in addition to the warm temperatures, there were other surprises.

“The water level came in higher than we expected,” he said.  “We expected the water level to be around that of the creek based on old mine maps but it actually came in artesian at the ground surface at 29 psi (pounds per square inch).   Normal pressure in a household faucet is about 60 psi, so this means no pump is needed and the water is really clear.  It’s a great benefit to the City.”

The temperatures are based on initial samples.  The well needs to stabilize and settle and then a full range of tests can begin.  These will include tests for temperature, chemical content of water and geophysical logging, which is a probe to determine what geologic layers the well has penetrated.

“We are so thankful to the neighbors for their patience and support during this project,” said Jeff Rice, Utilities Energy Efficiency Manager for the City of Aspen.  “We ran into some difficult conditions and unforeseen challenges, which can happen when you are drilling to such depths.  That makes the positive results that much more rewarding.”

The well is completely cased, sealed and capped.  If the scientific tests prove positive, the City will investigate the viability of a geothermal utility district in the future; however, there are no plans to develop this test site any further.  All work there has been completed and the site is restored.

“The purpose of this project was to scientifically test what we’ve heard anecdotally over the years,” Rice said.  “There are stories from the mining days about possible conditions down there as well as talk from other drillers and consultants and the fact that this area is geothermally active, so it’s nice to have the tests to prove the hypotheses.  It is exciting to know there could be another local renewable energy option for Aspen.”

All future tests of the water will be done by third parties and will take several months.


Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2013