DCH to use well water in future emergencies - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

DCH to use well water in future emergencies

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TUSCALOOSA - AL -

DCH Hospital in Tuscaloosa didn't just narrowly escape that massive tornado last April 27th...there was another major threat inside.   When the storm knocked out city pumps, the hospital ran scarce on water even as the injured poured in.  "...for about four hours, which created a major issue.  So, we decided we needed to find a backup system," says Brad Fisher, a spokesperson for DCH.

The hospital uses roughly 200,000 gallons of water a day, so imagine what it was like on their biggest rush of the year, lots of patients but no water pressure.

Their answer to avoid it in the future rests in a ground water well already on the hospital's grounds, which they use currently to only water the landscape.   The water contains sulfur, as does most well water.

The hospital is now installing a purification system to clean the water and make it drinkable, thus usable for steam-sanitizing hospital equipment which doctors were not able to do during last year's major storm.  "We did one surgery but for patients who required those implements we were not able to do any more surgeries," added Fisher.  Many of those patients had to be transferred to Birmingham hospitals.

The well water conversion will cost about $500,000 dollars but not having to use city water at times, the hospital estimates a yearly savings of about $190,000...so the investment will pay for itself in a little less than three years.