ASPEN - The city of Aspen will conduct more geothermal testing by drilling a well in the parking lot across from Herron Park on the east side of town starting Monday.
"This is the final phase of testing to determine if there are suitable resources up to 1,500 feet below the surface," a city statement says.
California-based Dan's Water Well and Pump Service, the contractor hired to perform the work, will arrive on the site Monday to set up equipment. Drilling will commence on April 17 or 18.
The well was started in the fall of 2011. The contractor has approximately 500 more feet to drill before reaching the 1,500-foot maximum depth.
Geothermal energy basically is heat extracted from below the earth's surface and put it to use. In 2008, a feasibility study showed temperatures in the 90- to 140-degree range were likely in some areas of the city.
City officials have touted the project as an environmental initiative, saying that geothermal energy could be another way for the community to reduce its carbon footprint.
Work hours will be from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. The project will end May 27 or sooner.
The statement says that the city will work with the contractor to minimize any impacts on neighbors within the surrounding area. The neighbors are being notified about the project.
The test site will only determine the potential of using geothermal resources for heating, cooling or electricity, according to the city. It does not mean that the parking lot is a permanent site or that the city will pursue geothermal resources automatically.