By BRADEN LAMMERS
A water main break overnight caused Clark Memorial hospital to cancel surgeries on Thursday and call in a backup action plan to keep the hospital functioning.
A water main break occurred around 1 a.m. Thursday morning on 14th Street and affected the hospital’s water supply and air conditioning. But Susan Friedrich, director of business development and public relations for Clark Memorial Hospital, said patients in the hospital were not at risk.
“The water was never considered contaminated, [but] it has affected our water pressure,” she said.
The lack of water also had an impact on the hospital’s air conditioning system. While the air conditioning was not completely shut off, it was not operating at full capacity as a result of the loss of water pressure, Friedrich said. She added that bottled water was brought in and dispersed to people in the hospital as needed.
Kate Robinson, operations superintendent for Indiana American Water, said the company is not sure what caused the water main break and added that there is no construction work ongoing in that area that may have ruptured the line. Indiana American was able to adjust the valves to the water main and get consistent water pressure to the hospital early Thursday morning, she said.
With the hospital’s utilities not functioning normally, all elective surgeries scheduled for Thursday were canceled and some patients were diverted to other hospitals, Friedrich said.
“Some emergent surgeries were transferred as needed,” Friedrich said.
If an emergency surgery was necessary, Friedrich said it still could have taken place at the hospital despite the issues with the utility.
As of about 3:45 p.m. Thursday, the water main had been repaired and crews were completing cleanup in the area, Robinson said.
Indiana American Water has issued a boil water advisory for the area that will be in effect through 5 p.m. Friday.
Robinson said 30 customers are in the boil water advisory area, 12 of which are commercial customers.
According to Indiana American Water, the boil water advisory is issued for customers in the 1300, 1400, and 1500 blocks of Duncan Avenue, 302 W. 14th St. and Spring Hill Commons in Jeffersonville. Water should be boiled for a minimum of one minute then cooled before use for drinking, cooking, bathing and brushing teeth.