Some of the latest news from around the industry.

Geothermal Tax Credit Signed into Law - Is Widely Commended

The recent federal legislation signed into law to avert a national financial crisis also includes expansion of tax credits for homeowners and businesses installing qualified geothermal heat pump systems.

The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) lauds the tax credit as a big step toward encouraging the use of geothermal heat pumps – one of the keys to meeting America’s energy needs into the future.

“In all the discussion of renewable energy sources, geothermal heat pumps often are overshadowed by talk of wind and solar energy. Yet geothermal heating and cooling is a practical option for just about any homeowner – potentially saving many thousands of dollars over the life of the system,” says NGWA director Alan Eades.

Specifically, the new law provides a 10-percent business tax credit for the purchase of qualified geothermal heat pump property. It is effective for qualified purchases made after Oct. 3, 2008, and before Jan. 1, 2017.

By including geothermal heat pumps within the definition of energy property, geothermal heat pump systems placed in service after Oct. 3, 2008, also will be subject to a 5-year depreciation period.

Individuals also may be eligible for an expanded federal tax credit of 30 percent, up to $2,000, on the purchase of qualified geothermal heat pump property for their residences.  The bill defines qualified geothermal heat pump property as any equipment that uses the ground or ground water as a thermal energy source to heat or cool the residence. Additionally, the equipment must meet current Energy Star requirements. The individual tax credit is effective for qualified purchases made after Dec. 31, 2007, expiring Dec. 31, 2016. 

Also commending enactment of the tax credit was geothermal heat pump manufacturer Dan Ellis. “With buildings accounting for nearly 40 percent of all U.S. energy consumption, there is no doubt that geothermal heat pumps will play a crucial role in reshaping our energy future,” he says. “We are pleased that Congress has recognized the importance of this 50-state technology by providing long-term installation incentives that will raise consumer awareness, improve the economics for purchasers, and create a foundation for investment in the job-creating infrastructure of our industry,” Ellis says.

In Memoriam

Drilling industry veteran Mike Cowell died Aug. 18 in Limerick, Ireland, surrounded by his family; he was 68. Cowell is survived by his wife, Joan, daughters Linda and Debbie, son Alan, son-in-law Gary, and granddaughters Hayley and Alex.

Cowell spent 40 years working in the mining industry. During that time, he gained a deserved reputation as a man of complete honesty, integrity and diligence in all he did. Mike’s career in the mining and drilling industry started in 1968, when he joined the Shannon Diamond and Carbide Co. in Shannon, Ireland (most people now know this company as Boart Longyear). During his career there, he primarily worked in sales, traveling to the four corners of the world in some of the most remote and desolate places. As Cowell would say, “You’d never know if it would be 50 above or 50 below, but you pack for each.” With his winning ways, he first would gain the trust of his customers, and then work tirelessly to ensure that they were at all times happy with the products and service they were receiving.

Cowell joined Min-con Rockdrills in 1988, where he continued to work until his death. During his time with Mincon, he traveled extensively, mainly in North America, but also in Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia. In a career with Mincon of more than 20 years, the easiest way to describe what he did would be that he did everything. Ask anyone he dealt with, and they will tell you of his great wit and ability to tell a story, and his complete commitment to his customers, his product and to the mining and drilling industry.

Cowell made many friends over the years, and will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him.

Slan leat a chara (goodbye good friend).

Water Treatment Conference

Treatment Approaches for Water Reuse 2008, offering a comprehensive overview of the latest technologies and treatments for water reuse and reclamation, as well as for compliant disposal of industrial wastewater, takes place Nov. 12-14, at the Royal Plaza Hotel in Orlando, Fla. With more than 100 leading industry executives expected to attend, this is a great opportunity to network and discuss the latest business issues with key industry experts and end-users.

The program features an intensive three-hour pre-conference seminar, an exhibit area showcasing the latest technology, 20 speaker presentations, and numerous networking functions. This conference is a major event for you and your colleagues to receive the latest information on this emerging industry. Ample opportunities to network and discuss the latest business issues with key industry executives, experts and end-users will be a main focus of the conference.  

Topics to be covered: 
  • Market outlook
  • Coagulation/flocculation processes
  • Membrane filtration
  • Solutions to membrane fouling
  • Ion-exchange and non-ionic resins
  • Cooling water and heat exchangers
  • Removal of metals, phosphates and other contaminants
  • Nutrient removal
  • Bioreactors/secondary treatment
  • Regulatory issues
  • End-user perspectives
For complete details, visit

Coming This Spring in ND

The March 2009 issue ofNational Driller will feature a special section presenting foundation drilling industry profiles, products and projects. Much like our popular “Manufacturer Spotlights” and “Case Histories” sections, the new “Foundation Drilling Solutions” section allows advertisers to participate in a special advertorial program wherein they offer insights into their companies, their products and their applications in the foundation drilling industry. This exciting new component appears in the March issue, which will include bonus distribution at the International Foundation Congress & Equipment Expo ’09, taking place Mar. 15-19, in Orlando, Fla. Vendors serving the foundation drilling market can take advantage of this opportunity to showcase their offerings and capabilities by calling Dean (800-874-4245; or Linda (530-885-6081 The materials deadline is Jan. 16, 2009.

We've Got Mail - From Ernie Cook

I have read your magazine for a good many years. Mostly, I drool over the big rigs, but I really enjoyed the articles on the old-time drilling (John Schmitt’s recent “Let Me Tell Ya” columns), because for us, it sure wasn’t old-time. It’s down to my brother-in-law, Chuck, and I now. We have always been a family business; dad and mom started putting in 1 -inch wells back in the 1930s. At one time, we had a bit more than 200 years of experience in the family. Mom drilled until she was 72. One time, she was running tool rod and slipped on the ice and put a rib through her lung. She finished the well and then went to the hospital.

I loved the ball seat bailer – used one up until dad took out the ball, and found an old trash pump and a Briggs washing machine engine and, voila, we had jet drilling. That pump weighed a ton; thank goodness for pacer pumps. We make all of our drilling tools; I don’t believe you can buy some of that stuff anymore. We still keep well supplied with casing valves, etc., from C&N out of Granger, Ind.

It’s hard to believe, but we still are putting in just as many 2-inch wells as we ever did, and from what I’ve heard, we are the last of the 2-inch drillers for a long way around here. This old business sure has been good to us – raised nine kids, kept at times three or four families, and now keeps Chuck and I out of the poorhouse. We’ve been trying to find someone to take over, but when they see how dirty you get, and then comes old man winter – they’re not too interested.

Our average well is about 60 feet, no rock or breakdowns, and we still can spank one in and have them taking a shower in one day.

Thanks again for the magazine and the articles.

Ernie Cook
Cook Well Drilling
Rome City, Ind.