LUMBERTON — Southeastern Health has received a $354,600 grant to sink a well from which Southeastern Regional Medical Center can draw drinking water during emergencies.
The Golden LEAF Foundation Hazard Mitigation grant will allow the hospital to better respond in the event of another emergency such as 2016’s Hurricane Matthew, according to SeHealth officials.
Hurricane Matthew left the hospital without drinkable city water for two weeks. The hospital relied on existing shallow wells to run emergency chiller and boiler systems, and to fill buckets so toilets could be flushed. But the existing wells could not meet all SRMC’s water needs.
“We were always behind, and could not keep up while running those barrels 24/7,” said Joseph Buri, director of Facility Services. “We had to purchase water that was brought in by tankers. This grant will allow us to update our well and provide potable water for consumption and use in the event of another emergency, such as Hurricane Matthew.”
The grant will cover the cost of installing a fourth well on SRMC’s main campus. The well, will be larger than the other three and have a filtration system. It will only be used during emergencies when the city’s water system is disrupted.
“We are very grateful for the support we have received for this project and for many others over the past years from the Golden LEAF Foundation,” said David Sumner, Southeastern Health vice president of Corporate Services and chief strategy officer.
Buri said the hospital plans to drill the new well in mid-September. The well will be located near West 27th Street, but should not cause any road closures.