Wednesday, January 3, 2018

USA, Idaho: The Oldest Continuously Utilized Geothermal System in the United States

Bringing Boise’s Geothermal Past, Forward: “The Heat Beneath Your Feet” (SHRA)

Boise WaterShed Exhibits, Inc. educates the public on water conservation through interactive exhibits and hands-on-programs such as “The Heat Beneath Your Feet.” Photo Credit: Boise WaterShed Exhibits, Inc.
Since the late 19th century, Boise’s geothermal energy has been an economic and cultural driver of the city’s development. Entrepreneurs capitalized on the region’s active geologic inheritance to provide Boiseans with cheap, sustainable energy long before the environmental movement of the 1970s popularized the “green energy” concept.

In 1890 and 1891, the Boise Water Works Company pioneered the municipal-scale use of geothermal water when it completed two geothermal wells along the east Boise Front, which brought geothermally heated water to the surface. The Boise Water Works Company later consolidated with another local water company to form the Boise Artesian and Hot and Cold Water Company.

The geothermal water, naturally emerging from the ground at approximately 165-170 degrees Fahrenheit, provided heat for residences along the area’s Warm Springs Avenue and for downtown businesses. It also provided hot water for Boise’s iconic indoor spa – the Natatorium. This geothermal corridor eventually became known as the Boise Warm Springs Water district and is the oldest continuously utilized geothermal system in the United States.

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