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Water Today Title March 17, 2018

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Advisory of the Day



This story is brought to you in part by ParemTech's PT Level

Hospitals nowadays are huge, essential and in Quebec represent a major part of the province's expenses in it's healthcare system. Montreal's hospitals vary tremendously in size and age. The oldest hospital in North-America being Hotel-Dieu De Montreal (established in 1645), alongside it's new super modern Mega-Hospital, the Glen site MUHC (McGill University Health Center opened in 2015), are vastly different in construction and technologies involved, while being very similar in their tap water usage and waste water disposal

Montreal's tap water is being used "as is" for most tasks and usage in these establishments. We spoke with Mr. David Calderesi, Assistant-Director for Building Maintenance Logistics and Emergency Measures for the CIUSSS (Centre intégré universitaire de l'Est-de-l'Ile-de-Montréal), in charge of the 7 hospitals and long-term treatment centers of the eastern part of Montreal for information about the subject. He gave us a list of the areas where simple tap water is used:

Cooling systems and Air Conditioning Water heating systems / Vapor systems / Sterilization systems Dishwashers / Hygiene / Regular Maintenance / Laundromat Some specialized equipments; Scope cleaners for endoscopic exams, some lab equipment. Domestic use; baths, showers, hot water and food preparation

Not that different from typical residential use. The areas where tap water is being filtered or purified are more specific and highly specialized. According to Mr. Calderesi, tap water is purified to bring it to high purity osmosis water; for each 10 gallons there is a waste of 5 gallons of tap water. Uses for this treated osmosis water is mainly for dialysis machines, laboratory equipment / analysis and such highly sensitive areas.

Wastewater returned to the Montreal sewage system is not treated except for few exceptions. The water used in the kitchens is sent to a decantation tank to separate grease, oils and water, to be then picked up by a specialized firm to discharge or recycle. The water from the laundry is also treated to remove phosphor and other chemicals to comply with environmental laws and regulations for disposal of chemically contaminated waters that all high volume industrial and institutional establishments must comply with.

Mr. Calderesi told us on the phone: "The wastewater returned to the Montreal collection system is within municipal regulations. Unless, there was a change in the law or a major incident, this will probably not change." When asked if microbial, biohazards and other contaminations from an organic source was possible he told us: "The water used in dialysis, laboratory and highly sensitive areas are double treated in special treatment systems where the ph is brought back between 5.5 to 9.5 ph levels to make sure no contaminants are present and that the ph levels more acidic from these treatments is brought back to the city's regulatory standards. It also prevents corrosion and problems to the piping systems." When asked about medication residues in patient's dejections Mr. Calderesi had this to say: "Patients urine and feces goes straight to the sewage system as there is no current regulation, just like anybody home on medication has to go to the bathroom."

Tomorrow we will continue our 5 parts investigation of Montreal's water with pharmaceutical and industrial common practices.

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