DCH to use well water in future emergencies

      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, the investment will pay for itself in a little less than three years.