Earth shakes for air-con project

The drilling phase of the council's million dollar heating and cooling project for the Riverina Highlands Building is almost complete.
The drilling phase of the council’s million dollar heating and cooling project for the Riverina Highlands Building is almost complete.

This week’s beautiful rain has barely slowed down the drilling team which is carrying out the works for the council’s new cooling and heating system.

THE shaking of the earth and the rattling of windows at the Riverina Highlands building is almost over with the final bore holes for the $1.18 million heating and cooling upgrade of the council premises almost complete.

The geo-thermal unit will totally replace the more traditional heating and air conditioning unit that has serviced the building since 1982.

Drilling of 35 bore holes, which will act as geo-thermal exchange units for the heating and cooling section of the energy efficient project, has progressed almost without a hitch, according to council’s Building and Development Officer, Garry Mayes.

“We are running on schedule with the bore holes,” Mr Mayes said. “On Wednesday they had two-and-half holes to go.

“We lost half a day on Monday because of the rain. You can bore in the rain but not weld the casing.”

There’s only been the one mishap: while drilling a bore, at 30m under the ground, the drilling head and hammer fractured, with crews unable to retrieve the piece.

“The earth is extremely hard granite, the same as from which the Catholic Church is built,” Mr Mayes said. “They just bored another hole next to the abandoned one.

“The second stage is to link the bore holes with the header pipes, which are connected to each of the bore holes and taken back to the heat exchanger located in the plant room.”

A third of the pipe work has been completed with work on the pipeline recommencing on Wednesday.

At present Sylvia Lane, the road that connects Capper Street with the Target and Coles car-parks, is closed to traffic as the final boreholes are being drilled in that area.

“People who are situated really close to the back of the building have had a lot to put up with in terms of the noise, but all have been extremely understanding,” Mr Mayes said. “It has been a different project to be involved in. Seeing the project moving along and to have the ground heat exchange loops almost completed has certainly been interesting to watch.”

The air conditioning units within the building and water pumps are coming from the US and are running behind schedule but Mr Mayes said as soon as they arrive, work will continue.

“We are pressurising the loops as we go and testing them,” he said. “When completed we can circulate water through them to check everything is right to go.”