Franklin hospital project aims to curtail flooding-WEB ONLY

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A large underground tank is being installed at Johnson Memorial Hospital as part of a project to safeguard against a repeat of flooding that caused more than $1 million in damage last year.

The county-owned hospital had several inches of water on its first floor from the June 7 flooding that hit much of central and southern Indiana, wrecking carpet, drywall and some medical equipment.

Bill Oakes, the hospital’s business development director, said the Federal Emergency Management Agency required that the hospital find ways to lessen its potential damage from flooding.

The flood-prevention system includes a 24-by-42-foot underground tank, costing $400,000, that will fill during heavy rains, with sensor-activated pumps that can divert water into a nearby retention pond in the city about 15 miles south of Indianapolis.

Also being installed is an alarm system that triggers when pipes carrying sewage beneath the building reach capacity so that their contents will be sent to a separate system away from the hospital.

“One of the problems we had in the June event was also the backup of water through floor drains on the first floor,” Oakes said. “The second stage will address that.”

Insurance covered most of the hospital’s damage from last year’s flood, but it is still working with FEMA for reimbursement, Oakes said.

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