8 February, 2002
OUR HEAT AND OUR WATER PUMP
Gary Jirschele is the Maintenance Specialist. Gary's job is to repair everything on the station except the generators and the vehicles.
He maintains and repairs all the equipment in the galley, the refrigerators and freezers in all the labs, and all the boilers. Gary is in charge of our heating system. It is also his job to supply the salt water to David Ensworth, who makes the fresh water from it. (the journal for 02/06/02 has more information about the water process) His job is to maintain the system by which the waste water leaves the station.
Our heating system is hot water circulating heat in the GWR building and heating coils in BioLab. The boilers for both of the buildings are fueled by diesel fuel. The water temperature in each boiler kept between 130 degrees and 160 degrees Fahrenheit. The outlying buildings are heated with electric heaters.
When asked what his biggest job challenge is, Gary said that it's the water system-from the water coming in to when it goes back out. There was a special problem with the system in December. There were microscopic bubbles getting into the water because of gas being released from the pump. The fish in the fish tanks absorbed the bubbles and died. So, Gary made a de-gasser to take water in from the top. The de-gasser makes the bubbles clump together and float to the top. Then they evaporate. That removed the problem for the fish.
Gary went to the Internet to get information about this situation. He found a system that fish hatcheries use, and he made one here. This is an example of the ways in which the people here have to be very creative. Gary says, "It's a good thing we figured it out. Now the fish are happy!"
Gary is originally from Portland, Oregon. He has worked in the US Antarctic Program for eight seasons: 6 at McMurdo Station and two here at Palmer Station.
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