Fri | Sep 21, 2018

WRHA dismiss contaminant concerns about CRH

Published:Monday | March 5, 2018 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer
The Cornwall Regional Hospital in St James.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Dr Ken-Garfield Douglas, the regional director of the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), has dismissed concerns that the boiler and chimney at the problem-plagued Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) could spread contaminants to the surrounding community of Montego Bay.

Despite a recent outbreak of noxious fumes at the 400-bed facility, Douglas said that there is no danger of any contaminants spreading out from the CRH by way of the boiler and chimney.

"That boiler has been operating for the past three years - ever since we changed over from diesel to LPG (liquid petroleum gas) to run the boiler. I know people used to wonder why you would see black soot from the CRH's chimney, but that was when we were using diesel, and LPG is both cost-saving and environmentally friendly," said Douglas.

"What goes up the chimney is the gases from the LPG burning. The only thing is that, because the chimney's smokestack is high up in the air, the afterburn travelling up there takes a longer time to go up, so it looks like soot, and the chimney is old," Douglas added. "But it's just like lighting a stove inside your house, and I have not heard any complaints about it."

The CRH, which was built in 1974, has been undergoing restoration work ever since noxious fumes from the Type A facility's ventilation system resulted in the relocation of several services last January.

However, the WRHA said that no cause has been identified for last week's outbreak of fumes.

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton announced last week that the relocation of the boiler, which is part of the ongoing restoration work at CRH, would take two weeks to complete. The hospital's overall restoration is projected for completion by November at a cost of J$2 billion.