Hospital’s conservation initiatives saves water

August 25, 2013

Jackson County Memorial Hospital has purchased a water softener system for its North Tower. The new system will soften the water to the cooling tower which will increase the number of usable cycles; therefore, reducing water consumption.

The cycles are based on the hardness of the water, as well as conductivity (produced by the process of cooling the hot gases that build up inside the chiller). Previously the water in the existing cooling tower and the piping to the chiller could only circulate 1.6 times before that water was dumped down the drain.

With the addition of the new softener, running the conditioned water into the system, at least eight cycles will occur before the water is dumped out of the system.

Casey Miranda is the Assistant Director of Plant Operations at Jackson County Memorial Hospital. “This is a conservative number and we hope for an even better number when the system is in place and everything is fine-tuned.”

The previous smaller water softener system will be moved from the North Tower to the South Tower to increase the capacity to soften the water to that cooling tower.

Explains Miranda, “What this means in general conservation terms, is that the hospital will be saving 9,775 gallons a day in each of the two towers.”

The hospital expects to save over five million gallons of water a year.

The water softener system is from Chem Aqua, Inc.™ The water softener removes the hardness ions that form scale in pipes and heat exchange equipment.

Jackson County Memorial Hospital chose the system that consists of two resin tanks in a parallel configuration that are brought online based on flow rate demand. As demand increases, available resin tanks are brought online to accommodate the load. As demand decreases, idle tanks are taken offline to prevent low-flow channeling through the unneeded resin tanks. Flow is monitored by a water meter on each tank and control valves are fitted with electronic timers.

“With the purchase of one large softener system we will be able to save about 19,500 gallons a day,” said Miranda. “With the expected water savings, the total purchase and installation cost will be recovered within a year.”

Ray Miller, Director of Plant Operations, explains that this is one of the green initiatives incorporated into the Jackson County Memorial Hospital facility.

The Plant Operations Department directs the activities of the hospital’s infrastructure and maintenance at each campus location. The department employs ten technicians who represent a number of trades: general maintenance, carpenters, plumbers, heating and ventilation, and other skills.