Apr 09, 2018
New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Vincent Sapienza joined NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem CEO Eboné M. Carrington today to announce that NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem will receive $1.1 million in funding from DEP to further its water conservation efforts. Through water-saving improvements and tracking data, the hospital was able to reduce their water consumption by 35,500 gallons per day over the past two years. This new funding will allow for additional water-efficiency upgrades to be made to toilets, urinals, showerheads, faucets, ice machines, and dishwashers. Upgrades are anticipated to reduce consumption by another 60,000 gallons per day.
“NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem has been committed to the health and well-being of New Yorkers since 1887 and has now become a partner in our shared commitment to environmental sustainability,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “Hospitals are large facilities that require a significant amount of water for the critical services they provide and we hope the lessons learned from NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem’s water conservation efforts will be replicated across the city.”
“As a community hospital we understand the importance of being good stewards of natural resources. When the Department of Environmental Protection challenged our hospital’s leadership to reduce water consumption, we gladly accepted. Our plan to reduce water use included the replacement of toilets, modification of faucets, removal of water-cooled appliances — aggressively bringing steam and domestic water systems into good repair and reclaiming condensation as boiler feed water,” said Eboné M. Carrington. “We are elated that our efforts yielded so much fruit for the benefit of our facility, community and world (environment).”
As part of DEP’s Water Challenge to Hospitals, NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem was equipped with water meters and Automated Meter Reading devices which tracked water consumption in near real time. DEP used 24 months of water consumption data to establish a baseline profile and track their progress in reducing water consumption. Water reduction strategies included good housekeeping techniques, such as finding and repairing leaks quickly, and developing literature that encourages staff members to practice water conservation behavior. Physical upgrades were also explored, such as the replacement of inefficient plumbing fixtures and the adoption of new technologies that use water minimally, or reuse it to the extent possible.
Encouraging water-usage reductions at hospitals is just one part of DEP’s efforts to conserve water as part of a $1.5 billion initiative to ensure clean, reliable, and safe drinking water for more than nine million New Yorkers for decades to come. As part of this initiative, DEP is working to repair leaks in the Delaware Aqueduct that supplies roughly half of the City’s daily drinking water. In order to complete these repairs to the Aqueduct, the tunnel must be temporarily shut down between 2022 and 2023.
In preparation for the shutdown, DEP has developed a combination of conservation programs and supplemental supplies that will ensure an uninterrupted supply of water. The Municipal Water Efficiency Program identifies opportunities to conserve water at City-owned properties and facilities. As part of this program, DEP has already completed a partnership with NYC Parks to install activation buttons on spray showers at 400 playgrounds around the city that are saving 1.1 million gallons of water a day. More than 40,000 bathroom fixtures in 500 public school buildings are also being updated which will conserve approximately 4 million gallons of water each school day.
As a result of multiple sustained water conservation programs, overall water use in the city has declined from over 1.5 billion gallons a day in 1980 to roughly 1 billion gallons a day at present, while the city’s population grew from just over 7.1 million to 8.6 million in the same period.