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Update May 18, 2015- The BPCA has issued an RFP to shut down these money pit geothermal wells.
August 1, 2014- By Steven E. Greer
At the July 31st BPCA board meeting, the main topic of discussion was the money-pit of a problem at the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy headquarters on Battery Place: The geothermal well that never worked.
The new parks headquarters was built in 2010. Part of the mission of the BPCA is to build an environmentally efficient “green community”. A geothermal heating and cooling system fit well with that mission. However, it never functioned and has been a problem for the authority ever since.
At the recent BPCA board meeting, another $3 Million was authorized to spend on retrofitting the parks office building with a normal heating system, scrapping the geothermal holding tanks, etc. Chairman Dennis Mehiel discussed whether the original contractors of the botched project should be sued to reclaim lost funds.
After Mehiel posed that idea, quickly stepping in was BPCA’s Gwen Dawson (the person in charge of projects such as the geothermal well, Pier A, etc.) who stated, “This was discussed by the in-house legal department over the course of a year or so, and the conclusion was that it was not recommended that we pursue legal action.”. No explanation was give as to why, leaving many in the room scratching their heads.
BatteryPark.TV has exclusively learned that the BPCA went forward in 2009 with the original designs for the geothermal well in the parks headquarters despite an engineering firm recommending against it. In the adjacent residential Visioniare building constructed by the Albanese real estate family, the plans for a separate geothermal well were cancelled when the test well was not providing adequate performance, and the water was too salty. However, the BPCA was deadest on getting the environmentally friendly and politically correct “LEED” status for the parks office, and built their geothermal well ignoring the results and advice from the Visioniare failed experiment.
If indeed the BPCA is the agency at fault rather than the engineer and construction companies, then any attempt to sue those companies would backfire in court. Therefore, the BPCA legal team advised against any legal attempt to clawback funds.
With the new funding approved on July 31st, the total amount spent on the geothermal well debacle exceeds $7 Million, sources tell BP.TV. BatteryPark.TV has requested the documents from the BPCA to shed light on the details of the geothermal well construction and design process. Stay tuned.