Hospital undergoing water testing after check valve failure.

January 23, 2018

Hospital undergoing water testing after check valve failure.


UPDATE: The environmental laboratory results have come back and there is no contamination. All standard operations pertaining to water, including consumption, food prep, hand washing and patient bathing, are back to normal. 

LUDINGTON — Monday, Jan. 22, facilities personnel from Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital discovered a possible contamination of potable water in sections of the main hospital building. The issue was a check valve failure between the heating and cooling system and the potable water system. The source of the possible contamination was ethylene glycol.

All sources of water connected to where the potential contamination occurred were immediately shut off and taken out of service, according to a press release from the hospital. Water is currently being tested to determine with certainty whether the potable water was indeed affected, and precautions have been enacted to protect patients, visitors and staff.

“We are absolutely certain that there is no possibility of harm to any of our patients or staff,” said Helen Johnson, chief nursing officer at Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital. “The possible contamination is very slight and nearly negligible due to the section of the water system where the potential contamination was discovered; at the very end of the water line. However, out of an abundance of caution we have taken measures to ensure the safety of everyone in the facility. ”

“Our engineers and facility personnel are involved and we are taking all available and recommended steps to ensure safety, continue to focus on our mission of delivering high quality patient care and fix the problem,” said Randy Kelley, president of the Ludington Hospital.

“The valves in the water line where the possible contamination was discovered were immediately closed” said Greg Soper, facilities manager at the Ludington Hospital. “As soon as the possible contamination was discovered, we immediately cleared the lines to ensure the water was clear. Fortunately, this happened at the end of the water system with no downstream services. Due to this, we are confident our testing will show there is no potential for harm to patients or staff.” Immediate remedies are being put into place to ensure this situation does not reoccur.

Shortly after the potentially affected water line was shut off the Hospital Command Center was opened and began to work with community partners. Poison Control, the District #10 Health Department, and Trace Analytics (a Muskegon based water testing firm) are assisting Spectrum Health with ensuring a clean water supply is maintained in the facility.  The Mason County health inspector was also contacted to work with Nutrition Services at the hospital to ensure food and beverage safety.

Initial results of the water testing performed  will be available late Tuesday.  Additional testing will continue throughout the week. The water associated with the affected line will continue to be out of service until test results confirm there is no contamination.

Signs have been placed in all areas that have been impacted by the loss of water, as well as signs at the main entrance indicating the current situation. Staff has been informed and hand washing systems have been implemented in all patient care areas affected. Alternate patient bathing systems are in place as well.


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