Providence St. Joseph Medical Center is joining the list of California hospitals taking steps to minimize water usage during one of the most severe droughts the state has ever faced.
The Burbank hospital is expected to save about 15 million gallons of water annually by using reclaimed water to run its air-conditioning system. The hospital has been using reclaimed sewage water for about 90% of its grounds irrigation for the past three years, but a new water line will allow the hospital to use reclaimed water for all of its irrigation systems and the 41,000 gallons it uses daily for its cooling tower.
Costs for the $430,000 project, expected to be completed in July, were partially defrayed by the city of Burbank, which made the reclaimed water line available in 2013. Since then, the hospital has been working to put the infrastructure in place for the air-conditioning system and obtain approvals from the city, Los Angeles County and the state.
Regulatory approval hinged on Providence's ability to prevent cross contamination of the non-potable reclaimed water with potable water used for other hospital functions. Though it isn't drinkable, the water is treated by the city before reaching the hospital, and the air-conditioning system employs vapor eliminators and chemical protection to ensure it is biologically acceptable.