Hospital cutting water usage
By JESSE MANCINI
The Parkersburg News and The Parkersburg Sentinel
PARKERSBURG - Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital will use around 10
million gallons of water less a year through conservation and contracting
services, hospital officials said.
Much of that is from last year's transfer of laundry services to
a private contractor, said Steve Cockerham, director of engineering
at the hospital. About 9 million gallons a year will be saved.
Other steps include retrofitting equipment, such as water flow controllers
on the sterilizers, to reduce the amount of water usage and limiting
how often the boilers are blown off to remove impurities, he said.
The sterilizers, which generally run around the clock, had required
a constant flow of water, he said. Timers were installed to control
the flow, resulting in a savings of 1.4 million gallons a year,
''That's a little more than $8,000,'' he said.
The installation has already paid for itself, Cockerham said. Cost
was $3,600, he said.
''The good thing besides the savings is you're not using the water,''
To remove impurities from the boilers, the material is blown off
by releasing steam, called blow down, he said. The boilers were
on constant blow down, Cockerham said.
Chemicals are being added to the water to consolidate the impurities,
requiring blow down once a day, saving 150,000 gallons a day, he
Camden-Clark averages 40 million gallons of water a year at a cost
of about $232,000, spokesman Greg Smith said. Conservation and outsourcing
will save about 25 percent in both usage and cost, he said.
''We continually look at ecological and cost savings that keep the
cost of health care lower,'' Smith said.
Ditto at St. Joseph's.
The hospital buys equipment with cost savings features, such as
sterilizers with flow control valves, which use the least natural
resources for the most benefit, said Jill Parsons, director of marketing
and community relations.
"You don't want water going down the drain," Parsons said.
Camden-Clark from April 2002 to March 2003 used 41.6 million gallons
of water, according to documents filed with the Parkersburg Utility
Board. The hospital used 36.7 million from April 2003 to March 2004.
St. Joseph's usage was 47.3 million gallons from April 2002 to March
2003 and 48.8 million from April 2003 to March 2004.
The comparisons were for the main hospital facilities and physicians
Conservation is good, but there's another aspect to consider, according
to Clarence Cox, utility board manager.
"Like so many things in life, it's a two-edge sword," Cox said.
The institution is spending and using less water, increasing available
capacity of the treatment system, but the utility board loses that
revenue, he said. The benefit to the utility board would be greater
if there was a water shortage, Cox said.
"But that's not the case," he said.
Cockerham's job as engineering director is come up with methods
to save such operational costs. Some are common sense, he said.