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Thursday, June 23, 2011 02:23 pm

GREEN ENERGY UNDERMINED

Unmapped coal mine voids are costing Springfield School District 186 an extra $49,300 on a project originally expected to cost $262,000.

The district hired geothermal well-digging company, The Hole Deal, this spring to develop a field of 120 geothermal wells that would more efficiently heat and cool Jane Addams Elementary School.

In order to get just the right amount of energy, original plans called for all wells to be 200 feet deep. But, once digging commenced, workers found that old mine voids mapped at 250-foot depths were much more shallow, interfering with several of the planned wells, and requiring the district to dig 17 more wells.

The district’s director of operations and maintenance, David Smith, says the shallow “pockets” are likely the result of caved-in mine ceilings, or mine-subsidence.

The additional wells will be paid for with health/life safety funds.
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