Hospital Protects Local Watershed

Feb. 16, 2006

Officials at York Hospital of York, Maine, are committed to protecting the community’s water resources. After reviewing how to help, they decided to take advantage of new technology to treat storm water runoff on hospital property. The hospital chose to install the Downstream Defender, an oil/water separator storm water treatment device manufactured by Hydro International.

The separator is designed to remove sediment, floating particles and oil from storm water before leaving the hospital’s collection system and discharging into the environment.

“The separator fits inside what looks like a conventional catch basin—a simple storm water collection point with a sump that is designed to collect sand and debris that is normally entrained in the storm water,” said Clark James of the hospital’s environmental services team. “In fact, the hospital simply replaced one of its many catch basins with the oil/water separator and located it at a point where it will be able to treat much of the flow collected by the hospital’s storm water management system.”

The separator is located in the main parking lot. Once completed, a new, small catch basin grate will be the only visible portion of the new technology. Below the grate is a system of baffles and tanks that creates a vortex flow within the structure and removes and stores contaminants that may be present in the storm water.

The system is very effective, and has been shown to achieve greater than 80% removal of entrained pollutants from the storm water flow, a statistic that is bound to make York’s marine life happy. The hospital will regularly pump the accumulated contaminants out of the separator’s storage tank and send them to a wastewater treatment facility for proper processing and disposal.

A major investment

The project was designed by Altus Engineering of Portsmouth, N.H., and completed by Andrews Construction of Kittery, Maine, under the direction of the Hospital Environmental Services team.

As part of this effort, the hospital worked closely with the York Rivers Association and Wells Natural Estuary Reserve to ensure the design of this system met the standards set forth to help preserve the York watershed area.

“This project represents the first known installation of such a structure in York and is a big step toward preserving the watershed area around the Barrell Mill Pond and the rest of the York Watershed area,” said Carol Donnelly, chairman of the York Rivers Association. “The hospital has always been proactive and has done some other work in the past on their property to help preserve the area. This is just another example of their commitment, and we are very happy to see this project completed. This was a major investment on their part.”

Hospital President Jud Knox said it was a challenging project, but the end results will be worth the time and money spent. “This project was very challenging given the difficult site and weather conditions that we experienced,” he said, “but the new structure is now in place, thanks to the efforts of everyone involved, and represents a very proactive step by the hospital toward protecting our community’s water resources.”

About the Author

Dawn Fernald