Holliston LEED House

This is the story of a family who built the first LEED "green" house in Holliston, Massachusetts. We were trying to spend no more than it would take to build an ordinary house,and maybe even succeeded. The dust is still settling.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Why illegal geothermal systems exist

Well, here's the up to the minute report. Although here in Massachusetts, wells are governed by the board of health and water quality by the state Department of Environmental Protection, apparently the plumbing board likes to weigh in as well. Although we didn't know it, because our inspectors never let us know during the course of the project, the plumbing board has an outdated regulation on their books precluding the use of a well for both potable water and heating purposes.

This would not have been a problem, because for years the plumbing board has been winking at this discrepancy and there are about 100 legal systems installed like ours in Massachusetts, and they are now being approved at a clip of around 35 or 40 systems a year and growing. However, they didn't really want to say out loud that this was the case. So when our plumbing inspector pressed them for a read on it, not getting the hint he was given that this was under the radar, they came out against the dual use well.

This places us in the position of having a silver rated LEED home, clean well water, up-to-date geothermal, good plumbing, fine electric and a well built home, but no occupancy permit. We either have to put in another well (something we never would have done, would have gone solar instead) or get no permit. We considered pressuring various parties, taking this up the ladder to the governor, making a huge stink but-- this might lead to various other problems with town. Do we go ahead and put the well in, get the OP, and Then make the stink? Do we release it to the press? Do we go downtown to Boston and meet with the plumbing board and ask them why they allow DEP to hand out permits if they won't sign off on them?

Comments welcome. Also five grand, which would be the price of another well...


At August 20, 2009 at 11:27 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be careful sneaking around with Tartakoff and Holliston: they can and will tie up your OP for a long time. Conversley if you inhabit sans permit you also raise a pile of flags e.g. your insurance will not cover you---- if and when----since by their definition you live there illegally.

Best answer: May be a temporary OP pending state resolution of the incumbent issues.This means being nicey nicey to Tartacoff and company. Perhaps talk with Andy Porter and selectmen-----unfortunate mess--Good Luck

At August 20, 2009 at 11:59 AM , Blogger Erin said...

Mr. Tartikoff knows about our situation and that we are here; I believe him to be sympathetic with our dilemma. We will work with him to resolve this, as well as the plumbing inspector. We have to live here; don't want to rattle cages.

We have a meeting tomorrow with Lloyd, and on September 2nd with the plumbing board. We will work with the town to try for a temporary until the September meeting.

At August 22, 2009 at 10:43 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



At August 22, 2009 at 10:44 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

True all True:remember the Selectmen have the power to issue a Temporary OP; they do temp things oft i.e. liquor permits, parades, whatever. they have the legislative authority to do so----Good luck see what Lloyd B. thinks---cheers

At August 24, 2009 at 11:09 AM , Blogger Erin said...

Thanks for all your support, guys, and boy do we ever need it right now. Wave your crystals, burn your feathers, bow to the east (or west), I am grateful for your help and assistance.


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