DARLINGTON—An emergency well is being dug at Memorial Hospital of Lafayette County as a precaution to terrorism and natural disasters.
Hospital administrator Sherry Kudronowicz updated the county’s hospital board on the status of the well during the Jan. 19 meeting.
Construction on the well started on Jan. 16 and was anticipated to be completed within two weeks. The well is located east of the helipad on the grass. The pipes for the water enter the building by the emergency room mechanical room.
“The federal government, through hospital emergency preparedness, started making grants available for emergency wells,” Kudronowicz said. We applied for funding and were granted $94,000 two years ago.”
Kudronowicz said the hospital bid out the project and they felt the bids were too high. Most came in around $90,000.
“It would have covered it, but the board and [administration] thought the bids were too high,” Kudronowicz said. “We just weren’t comfortable with the bids. We had talked with Bob Salmi of the city of Darlington as well and he had concerns about the system as well. He was not comfortable with it either. So, none of us were comfortable with the well that had been drawn for us, so we declined the funding.”
The interim years the hospital worked on finding a better solution.
“We still felt strongly that it was something that we needed and that our community needed,” Kudronowicz said.
The board opted to switch engineers to a firm closer to Darlington. That firm took the initial plans for the well and made them more realistic for the hospital by reducing the amount of water pumped per minute. It was reduced to 72 gallons per minute, which is an emergency level.
With revised plans, the hospital applied for funding again and was granted $94,000 again in August 2011. The funding has to be used by Feb. 29.
“It’s kind of a short time frame,” Kudronowicz said.
The hospital board accepted a new bid of $54,984.50 to construct the well. Additional expenses of annual testing, quarterly testing, backflow meter testing and ultraviolet testing will cost approximately $1,000 a year to maintain and test the well.
“We’ve talked to the state coordinator [for the grant] and she has said at minimum they’ll probably let us include a year’s worth of those types of costs in there since we have almost $40,000 that we’re not using,” Kudronowicz said. “That was good to hear that we can include some of those annual costs as well.”
At the Jan. 19 hospital board meeting the board approved a change order of approximately $1,500 to increase the casing from 84 feet to 130 feet.
Kudronowicz said the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources requested the additional casing in sandstone to help reduce exposure to undesireable nitrates. Loose material was encountered at 84 feet; sandstone was encountered at 120 feet.
Grant money will also be used to purchase the ultraviolet testing equipment for approximately $5,000.
“What prompted it all was terrorism,” Kudronowicz said. “There’s probably not going to be terrorism in Darlington, but the most likely thing for us would be some sort of natural disaster, whether it be flooding or tornados, where the city water is disrupted. Then at least we would have access to water to continue our operations, which is what the goal of the emergency preparedness grant is.”
There is a memorandum between the hospital and the city.