[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Bethany Beach 7-17-2009 by Ord. No. 452. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Residents of and visitors to the Town of Bethany Beach depend on groundwater as their primary drinking water supply source. Significant Town resources have been committed to the development and enhancement of our groundwater supply sources as well as our water treatment facility. Because geothermal loop heat exchange well systems are constructed deep into the ground and/or use groundwater, these systems create a potential for the possible degradation of the quality of the Town's water supply. The Town of Bethany Beach finds that the installation, use and maintenance of geothermal loop heat exchange well systems are a matter of legitimate concern with respect to the public health, safety and welfare of the community and therefore the regulation of the installation and maintenance of geothermal loop heat exchange well systems is warranted.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- GEOTHERMAL CLOSED LOOP HEAT EXCHANGE WELL (GCL)
- A sealed and pressurized loop of pipe containing a heat exchange solution, which is circulated below the earth's surface and utilizes the earth for the purpose of heat transfer.
All GCL systems installed and/or repaired or modified within the corporate limits of Bethany Beach shall comply with the following requirements:
All GCL systems shall be closed loop systems. No open loop geothermal heat exchange well systems shall be permitted.
The installation specifications and drawings for GCL systems shall conform to the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) installation standards. They shall be submitted to and approved by the Town of Bethany Beach Building Inspector within three business days after receipt. Upon completion of the installation, the mechanical contractor and/or well driller shall provide the owner or owner's agent and the Town with a copy of an accurate as-built drawing only if it varies significantly from the state-approved original documents.
Vertical or horizontal ground-loop GCL systems may be used, subject to the review and approval of the plans by the Building Inspector.
Each geothermal closed-loop system shall be pressure-grouted from the bottom of the borehole to ground surface with approved grouting materials as set forth by the Delaware regulations governing the construction and use of wells. If the grout being used is not an approved grouting material, prior to its use it must be approved by the DNREC (Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control).
The solution contained in the heat pump closed-loop well piping system shall not contain any toxic substance.
The Town of Bethany Beach shall accept no liability, implied or otherwise, with the allowance or acceptance of these systems.
Location requirements. These systems shall be located in accordance with the following specifications:
No GCL system shall be located within 100 feet of any existing Town drinking water wellhead.
Delaware State Regulation 4.01A(1): Wells may be constructed less than 10 feet from a property line if prior approval is granted by the DNREC for the purpose of maximizing other horizontal separation distances as required by this section. The bore location within the foundation perimeter of the structure may be used only when there are no feasible alternatives.
Contractor requirements. Contractors involved in installation of such systems shall comply with the following requirements:
Geothermal closed-loop heat exchange well systems shall be installed by licensed State of Delaware well drillers.
The mechanical contractor or well driller shall be responsible for obtaining all local permits, shall serve as the lead contractor for the entire installation and shall be responsible for related subcontractors, and shall hold a current and valid business license from the Town of Bethany Beach.
The loop installation contractor must have a current IGSHPA accreditation and passed all IGSHPA training courses and accreditation examinations and pipe fusion tests and hold a valid business license from the Town of Bethany Beach.
Design requirements. Geothermal closed-loop heat exchange well systems shall be designed and constructed in accordance with the following requirements:
The system must be designed by an IGSHPA accredited personnel and must follow all IGSHPA guidelines as set forth in the closed-loop/geothermal heat pump systems design and installation standards, the manufacturer's specifications and the current International Mechanical Code.
All commercial installations shall include pressure gauges and other monitoring devices to allow for ongoing monitoring of the system. All residential installations shall have P/T ports.
Regulation 5.05(D) of the State Code requires all buried pipes to be marked with underground warning tape at a depth of 24 inches.
Geothermal pipe loops shall be of approved material for geothermal installation and have a fifty-year warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. Loops shall be assembled and pressure tested according to International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) standards at the factory.
No person shall install, construct, drill or excavate to facilitate the construction or installation of a GCL system for use as a heating and/or cooling system for a structure without first obtaining a GCL permit from the Town as well as obtaining an approved well permit from the DNREC.
An approved well permit from the State of Delaware is valid for one year. Before drilling, the well driller has to call the DNREC and obtain a call-in authorization number.
Maintenance of GCL systems.
Any person who owns a property, on which a GCL system is in use, shall be responsible for maintaining the GCL system.
Delaware State Code Regulation 3.02, Well Repair: A well permit is not required if an existing well requires only repair or rehabilitation and the location and physical dimension of the well are not changed.
Delaware State Code Regulation 9.01: If a GCL system is not properly abandoned in accordance with the current version of Delaware regulations governing the construction and use of wells by the Delaware Division of Water Resources, the Town may take whatever actions are legal and necessary to compel proper abandonment of the GCL system, at the owner's expense.