How one change saved four million litres of water

July 4, 2019| Epworth News /

Epworth Geelong has recorded a saving of one million litres of water in just over four months due to a simple but innovative project to divert reject water produced in dialysis.

The reverse osmosis process is a water purification process which removes ions, unwanted molecules and larger particles from drinking water.

Steve Ball

Steve Ball

While tap water is safe to drink because it goes through a treatment process, much more "cleaning" is required to make water safe for dialysis. Water for dialysis needs to be ultra-pure, which means that for every one litre produced, five litres is wasted.

But instead of being wasted down the drain, this water is now being used to fill onsite tanks previously supplemented by millions of litres of potable water for ongoing use in gardens and toilet flushing across Epworth Geelong.

Epworth Geelong Facilities Manager Steve Ball said the site will be able to save four million litres across the year as a result of the initiative. 

We identified that we were flushing our reject water straight down the drain and we suspected this was usable so we had the water tested and it came out as class two drinking water which means it was good for our gardens and flushes.

So this inexpensive project allows us to make a few easy adjustments to redirect that water into our rain water tanks, as a result we now don’t need to take as much water from the main supply which is where the savings has come from.
— Steve Ball, Facility Services Manager, Epworth HealthCare

This project is part one of a range of sustainability initiatives being used across the hospital, including setting time schedules on heating and cooling systems to turn off units when they aren’t being used.

As part of our commitment to sustainability (a primary pillar in the Epworth Strategy Plan), the organisation is looking at a range of ways to reduce our environmental footprint across our nine hospitals. This includes employing a group sustainability manager and getting staff involved in creating unique ways that hospitals can reduce waste and be more sustainable.


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