The Harlan Fiscal Court accepted a bid of $76,490 from Cumberland Mine Services Inc. on Thursday to deal with persistent problems with the geothermal system at the Harlan County Detention Center.
Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley called on Scott Noel of N3D Group, an engineering firm located in Lexington, to advise the court on the proposed project on the jail’s Geothermal system.
“The biggest problem out there is the actual vault where the geothermal line is coming in,” said Noel. “That vault, from what we can tell, has been a problem for several years. The repair that we’re recommending…is to eliminate the vault completely, intercept the lines down below and bring them up into a small mechanical room addition on the side.”
Noel explained the plan includes building a geothermal manifold that can be accessed by maintenance and jail staff.
“We received one bid…from Cumberland Mine Services Incorporated out of Cumberland for $76,490,” Noel said. “That does include the building addition. It’s an all-in-one package.”
Magistrate David Kennedy asked how the long the jail geothermal system would have to be down.
“The way we designed it is the actual system shouldn’t be down very long at all,” said Noel. “Once the addition is built and the manifold is built, then we can intercept geothermal lines and turn them on as we connect to them. However, to get the first one connected, we’ll have to shut the system down for a period of probably half a day.”
Noel said there are other options to consider that may not take the entire system offline as long.
“That would require the rental of a portable chiller,” Noel said. “But then again, that would be a shutdown of three to four hours just to get that connected.”
Noel said the contractor was confident the operation could be executed as planned.
Kennedy asked how doing away with the vault and installing the new system would impact the cost of operation at the jail.
“Actually, it will lower your cost of operation,” Noel said. “The vault system — the way its set up now — there’s a sump pump down there that’s been replaced and it’s currently not working, so you won’t have that additional utility cost or maintenance cost on that.”
Noel mentioned the new system would be much more accessible and easier to maintain.
“I think we’ve got a good bid,” said Mosley. “We had advertised before…this one has come in lower than what was previously submitted and it’s also exactly what we need.”
Mosley asked Harlan County Jailer B.J. Burkhart if he was comfortable with the bid.
“The bid is actually cheaper than what it cost to repair it last time,” Burkhart said. “I recommend it.”
A motion was made to accept the bid from Cumberland Mine Service Inc. to replace the geothermal system at the jail. The motion passed with no opposition.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-909-4132 or on Twitter @joe_hde