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Hamilton custodians have new safe option to fight viruses

Recognizing that it will play an important role in keeping schools safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hamilton School District’s Buildings & Grounds Department has explored additional options for cleaning and disinfecting. One of its new tools is the hypochlorous acid generation system that produces a disinfecting solution inexpensively on site.hypochlorous-acid

Large quantities of hypochlorous acid can be made by mixing salt and a weak acid such as vinegar with electricity to produce the electrolyzed water. Hypochlorous acid is an internal substance found in all mammals and is an effective oxidizing agent against a broad range of bacteria and viruses including COVID-19. It is a green alternative to harsh chemicals, but is 100 times more powerful than bleach and does not pose a risk to people.

According to district Buildings & Grounds Supervisor Jeffrey Grove, the system checks a lot of boxes as an ideal school disinfectant.

“It is nontoxic to people, won’t harm surfaces and is noncorrosive,” Grove said. “Finding a product that is effective and safe for students and staff is extremely important and this product does just that.”

The district invested $18,000 in purchasing the machine that makes the solution, but Grove expects the payback will be less than one year because the district will be able to produces 130 gallons of disinfectant each day for three cents per gallon. A district parent, who is a firefighter, suggested the system after seeing the Greenfield Fire Department use it extensively in all of its ambulances.