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Geothermal & You - Environmental Impact

Wells & Water Issues

Well Water Diagram For years, geothermal heat pumps have been connected to wells in coastal areas with high water tables.

In these open loop systems, the water is pumped from the well, used once, then pumped out. The only change in the water was a slight temperature difference.

The rejected water is returned to a surface well, lake or stream, continually removing water from the aquifer. Other systems use a recharge well to return the water into the ground.

Learn more about: Reinjection & Disposal

Environmental concerns have been raised since aquifers can be depleted if the water is not reinjected. Also, the risk of contamination is an increasing concern. Improperly installed wells can be a path for surface water run-off that carries pesticides, fertilizers, organic materials and other contaminants into underlying aquifers.

Properly installed and maintained systems pose relatively few problems. But because the potential for abuse exists, some states and communities have prohibited the use of open loop systems. Check local codes for water discharge regulations.

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