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Prestigious Boston Hospitals Take Proactive Approach to Industrial Wastewater Treatment

As hospitals across the nation face unprecedented times, healthcare industry executives are taking steps to maintain the crucial systems that keep their facilities running. The founding members of one of the largest healthcare systems in Boston (name retained for confidentiality) recognized this need and embarked on proactive projects to evaluate their wastewater treatment systems.

The hospitals within the system were showing signs of aging at the wastewater discharge locations and Industrial Waste Pretreatment Systems (IWPS) located at the main campuses and several off-site locations.  As Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) wastewater discharge permit holders, the hospitals’ wastewater treatment systems needed to meet MWRA discharge standards. As the equipment began to age, there was increased difficulty maintaining compliance so hospital leaders decided to be proactive.

To prevent future permit violations, and implement a system upgrade plan, hospital executives retained Tighe & Bond, Inc. to review and evaluate their existing IWPS’s. Leadership no longer wanted to take a reactive approach to maintain their wastewater treatment systems and asked Tighe & Bond to lay out a plan that would keep them one step ahead of maintenance and permitting requirements. Without a plan in place, hospital leaders could not properly allocate funds for repairs and upgrades. There was concern that this trickledown effect could lead to permit violations if the equipment is off-line while awaiting replacement.

During their evaluation, Tighe & Bond inventoried the system equipment, and documented its age and condition, giving a baseline of the condition of the wastewater treatment systems. Using this information, the hospitals received recommended upgrades from Tighe & Bond that were prioritized by critical need. Hospital staff and operators collaborated with the engineers, openly sharing their daily practices both with processing wastewater and operations of the hospitals. By working in step with Tighe & Bond, the firm was not only able to make system upgrade recommendations but also suggest several procedural and maintenance changes that would streamline operations and keep the hospitals in compliance with MWRA.

Heeding the engineering firm’s recommendations, the hospital leaders took their responsibilities a step further to ensure the work gets done. They organized an internal plan to kick start the necessary upgrades to their facilities, splitting the costs of the work up over several years to meet annual budgets and avoid falling behind on maintenance. By following the upgrade schedule based on criticality, the hospitals have been able to avoid impact to hospital operations that would have been caused by unplanned wastewater treatment system downtime for repairs.

The actions taken by one of Boston’s most prestigious healthcare systems is a shining example of the importance of a proactive approach to maintaining and upgrading industrial wastewater systems. Not only will this investment in infrastructure save costs, but it also enables the hospitals to avoid compliance issues and disruption of their staff as they provide unparalleled care to patients.