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‘Piggyback’ business with a hospital account
From Volume 31, Issue 3 - March 2008
Technical Pages How multiple applications can be cost-effective in one large facility.
by: Norm Marowitz and Kevin Unger
While our High Purity Group and Commercial Drinking Water Systems Groups operate independently of each other, there are times when they work together to create cost-effective systems with multiple uses.
This situation is represented best by some of our hospital accounts, where we have been able to “piggyback” systems for multiple applications.
In the hospital environment, we have been able to work with some of our existing customers to expand and upgrade their central drinking water systems. By incorporating additional equipment, we can further treat the purified drinking water, producing deionized (DI) water of various qualities.
The largest user of DI water is typically “Central Sterilization,” were it is used for washing and sterilizing instruments.
Chemistry and construction Within most hospitals you will find different labs, all requiring some sort of wet chemistry. For example, the hematology lab might have six blood analyzers, each using up to 65 liters of water per hour. Pathology and histology labs perform very specific tests that require a specific water quality (i.e., Type I Reagent-Grade).
When these labs are not located close to “Central Sterilization,” we typically install a point-of-use DI polisher. The point-of-use polishing unit is supplied with RO water by the central drinking water system, eliminating additional equipment and service requirements. The DI polisher can supply lab faucets, autoclaves, clean-steam humidifiers, glass washers, endoscope cleaners, etc.
Total water quality management should include recycling or re-using RO concentrate. We typically re-use RO concentrate for cooling towers, irrigation, backwashing equipment, rinsing and water-cooled equipment such as vacuum pumps (standard equipment for hospitals).
All equipment for drinking water and high-purity water can be housed together for easier management and service.
Most new construction designs incorporate “sustainable building practices” or have to meet the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) requirements for Green Building Certification. These systems certainly fall at least within the spirit, if not within the scope, of these requirements.
Total water quality management Here are some keys for successfully incorporating total water quality management:
Every critical point of use should be installed with a bypass and posted procedure. The bypass procedure should be reviewed with end users annually.
Every bypass should be designed so that back-feeding cannot happen. Instead of building a three-valve bypass, use a three-way ball valve. Most plumbing codes may require a testable backflow device separating potable and non-potable applications.
Of course, all of this will fail if not serviced at the proper intervals and managed properly!
Multiple drinking water benefits In addition to sending purified water to bottle-less water dispensers throughout the hospital facility, the drinking water component of the system can provide multiple benefits. These include supplying water to the ice machines located on each of the patient care floors and also to kitchen equipment such as coffee machines, steam ovens, soda machines, soup kettles and other equipment.
By combining this aspect of the system with the high-purity water needs of the hospital, we are able to come up with a Total Water Quality Management program (high purity, drinking water, food service, and water re-use for a “green” finish).
Other benefits Other benefits of this type of system are: 1. The drinking water system saves money and saves the always-coveted space that hospitals never seem to have enough of, versus bringing in bottled water. 2. The infectious control departments in the hospital prefer these “closed systems” versus the open-reservoir aspect of bottled water coolers in the hospital. 3. The de-mineralized water requirement is met with flexibility in distribution for current and potential future needs. 4. The system incorporates “green” aspects of water re-use. Kevin Unger, right, is vice president of the High Purity & Special Applications Group for Atlas Watersystems, Inc., and Norm Marowitz is president of Atlas Watersystems, Inc., a New England-based company that provides water treatment for high-purity, commercial, residential, food service and other applications. They can be reached at (617) 244-8550; fax (617) 244-5141; or through the company’s Web site at: www.atlaswatersystems.com.