In December 2016, Houston Today reported on the geothermal glycol leak at the Houston Leisure Facility. The District ofHouston council resolved to supplement a glycol fund of $1000 until the spring of 2017, when the ground has been thawed, to expose the geothermal pipes and have a tradesman construct a bypass where the most likely location of the leak is.
On. Feb. 7 at the District of Houston council meeting, it was reported that the leak requires urgent action.
“We are now leaking one barrel of glycol per day,” said Michael Glavin, Chief Administrative Officer for the District ofHouston. “I have instructed staff to pin point the leak, pressurize the system, and bring a company in to monitor it, because now we have to act on it.”
It was observed on Feb. 1 that the glycol tank was draining at an alarming rate of four US gallons per hour.
Prior to this report, the geothermal system was losing an estimated seven US gallons per month at a cost of $184 per month.
Based on this recent data, the Houston Leisure Facility will be expending approximately $831 per day to compensate the glycol loss.
“If we don’t [act on it now], we are roughly going to go through $67,000 of glycol in the next three months. We are in a crisis point because first of all, it doesn’t operate properly. And second, it can do other damage,” said Glavin.
District of Houston staff assumes that the consistent weather trends of freezing and thawing are the cause for the drastic increase of the leak.
“Where is it going?” asked councillor Jonathan Van Barneveld, “With its proximity to the river, is there an issue there?”
Staff reported that the glycol is diluted at a ratio of 70 per cent water to 30 per cent glycol, and that any issues to its proximity to the river will be investigated and addressed.
“Do you have a window of expectation to locate the leak?” asked councillor Rick Lundrigan.
“I’ve asked for a 48 hour window to find out where [the leak] is,” replied Glavin.
“Are we going to loose any time at the pool? Do we have to close the pool to fix this?” asked councillor Tom Stringfellow.
“What we are looking into, when we go to do the fix, is to extract most of the glycol and put it into a holding truck so that we can put most of it back into the system. That way we are not refreshing it all with brand new glycol. So the pool would have to be [shut] down for probably two days, depending on the time of fixing it,” responded Tasha Kelly, manager of leisure services at the Houston Leisure Facility.
Glavin assured that council and the public would be well notified in advance when this would happen.
“Is the glycol the only thing that heats the pool?” asked councillor Lundrigan.
“Yes, that is what our heat pumps run off of. We have a boiler upstairs, and that is what we used to run off of before the geothermal was hooked up, but with the weather the way it’s been, and the decrease in glycol, our boiler is unable to keep up with the temperature demands,” answered Kelly.
Houston council accepted the report. Within the next week Glavin said that he will be requesting a special council meeting regarding this issue.