St Michael Medical Center - New Standard in Water Conservation

Excerpted from the WateReuse Pacific Northwest Newsletter - January 2021

Virginia Mason Franciscan Health and Silverdale Water District are excited to announce the opening of the St. Michael Medical Center expansion facility on the Kitsap Peninsula in Silverdale, Washington. The transition of patients, staff, and emergency, trauma, and surgical services was coordinated in mid-December of 2020. A reduced number of emergency department beds remain at the Bremerton campus, until the health system opens its urgent care center later this year. Formerly Harrison Medical Center, the 500,000 square-foot addition increases access to high-quality care on the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas, while building healthier communities for generations to come. The hospital space features state-of-the art services including a new Level III Trauma Center with 56-bay Emergency department, expanded stroke and heart care, and more. In addition to health care innovation, the facility boasts a forward-thinking approach to resource management: the use of Class A recycled water for most nonpotable uses. 

The completion of St. Michael’s is an exciting milestone in an ongoing effort by Silverdale Water District to meet customer demands with recycled water. Since 2010, the District has prepared and executed on a purple pipe infrastructure plan by identifying opportunity projects to install distribution infrastructure throughout the service area. By pairing planned infrastructure improvements and expansions with installation of purple pipe systems, the District has successfully put in place a substantial amount of the distribution backbone over the last ten years. The buildout capacity of the system is anticipated to be up to 3 million gallons per day (MGD) and will enable the District to shave approximately 1MGD from peak daily potable demands and conserve finite groundwater resources.

“We are excited to be caring for our patients in the new state-of-the-art, energy efficient St. Michael Medical Center. As the first hospital in the nation to utilize purple pipe plumbing throughout its structure, our innovative and sustainable approach to water usage in partnership with Silverdale Water District, will help us reduce our water usage by 36% as compared to the average hospital in the region,” said David Schultz, St. Michael Medical Center president.

Construction of the St Michael Medical Center includes dual plumbing throughout the facility so that Class A recycled water may be used for toilet flushing, heating, cooling, and landscape irrigation. The offset to potable water demands is estimated to save the hospital up to a third of its projected utility bills, amounting to thousands of dollars per year. The purple pipe system is currently being operated with potable water supply until the distribution system improvements are complete and enabled to deliver Class A water from the Central Kitsap Wastewater Treatment Plant. The potable and recycled water systems serving St. Michael’s are metered separately to accurately characterize the consumption of the facility; currently 35% of all interior water usage is through the purple pipe system.