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Hurricane season is here, and Cape Fear Valley Health in Fayetteville has a jump on preparations because of a new emergency water pump system.

Costing nearly $380,000, the system went online in late July. It is located on Cape Fear Valley Medical Center’s campus and includes two new water wells and three massive storage tanks.

The backup system upgrades were paid for by a grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation’s Disaster Recovery Program, which is funded by appropriations from state disaster recovery act legislation.

“We’re really excited about the new system,” said James Bullard (pictured), Cape Fear Valley Health’s Emergency Management Coordinator, “especially since all the water will be potable.”

James Bullard, Cape Fear Valley’s Emergency Management Coordinator, inspects the new backup water system. (Contributed photos)

Cape Fear Valley sought to upgrade its emergency backup water system in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in 2016. The storm knocked out all water pressure to the health system’s Fayetteville main campus for nearly a week, crippling services to patients.

Bottled water was brought in by the truckloads for patients and visitors to drink and staff to wash their hands. Hospital toilets had to be flushed with bucket water taken directly from aging water wells already on campus.

The backup system now pulls from new wells behind Cape Fear Valley Medical Center at a rate of more than 200 gallons per minute. The water is stored in three massive 8,000-gallon storage tanks where it is filtered and treated.

The system begins providing emergency water when a disruption in normal water supply occurs. The water is released into a network of water pipes surroundingthe hospital.

Cape Fear Valley engineers worked with PWC and local regulatory agencies to test and ensure the water system provides drinkable water.