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Staff / Business / Operations
January 2013 Letters And Views

Letters To The Editor

Insight from the JanSan industry.

January 01, 2013
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Each month, we welcome readers to opine on the noteworthy — or even the trivial — aspects of their lives as JanSan professionals.

The following is some of the correspondence we have received in recent weeks.


Preaching To The Choir

I want to pass my praise on to Scott Rice for his article that ran in the December 2012 issue, “Saving Lives — One Clean Surface At A Time.”

His thoughts about process improvement and systematic work as exemplified by the auto industry parallel my own.

One of the final sentences in the article that I couldn’t agree with more reads, “And, in the final analysis, paying attention to the details is what makes the difference between mediocrity and above-average performance; details are the difference between good and great.”

Amen to that, Scott. - Allen Rathey, president of InstructionLink/JanTrain Inc.


Venturing Out On Thin Ice

I’m writing to compliment an article by Rob Peterson of North American Salt that I found on your website and was originally published in the January 2012 issue, “What Does Green Ice Melt Really Mean?

You have really done a service to the industry by publishing this article, which is extremely well presented with facts.

We are frustrated by the lack of regulatory oversight or any “truth in labeling” on deicing products. 

We advocate that buyers demand a certificate of analysis that certifies each and every ingredient and lists it by percentage in any ice melt product in order to separate the claims from the facts.

I have over 40 years of industry experience in ice and snow removal, and I’m both happy and sad to say that I’ve seen it all at one point or another.

Thanks again for the article. - Robert English, president of Chemical Solutions Inc.


Well Done, Sirs

I would like to express my appreciation to Marion Ivey and Bill McGarvey for the hospitality and technical guidance they provided to the entire group of attendees during the three-day Train the Trainer event from the Cleaning Management Institute (CMI) hosted at Phillip Rosenau Company Inc. in Philadelphia.

This is a significant achievement for all of us, and I would like to extend my gratitude to all of your hardworking efforts in helping me and my colleagues achieve our goals.

Furthermore, I would like to thank you both for your contributions to the many CMI training programs.

I value your guidance and look forward to developing a professional rapport within the industry that we are so passionate about.

The feedback from everyone was particularly positive, which is thanks to your exceptional training — both the content and standard of delivery was fantastic.

More people in the cleaning community are considering how what we do matters and the importance of the long-term interests of the Earth and our children.

The level of sustainable awareness is rising, and with programs such as CMI’s Train the Trainer, organizational leaders will have the tools to implement a sound foundation for success. - Richard Brown, custodial foreman for Burlington County College.


What’s The Good Word?

It seems to me that people don’t participate much in the Forum anymore because they quickly forget about it.

If it could be set up to automatically send an e-mail when new topics are posted and when new responses are received, people would be reminded.

I’m thinking of reminders kind of like the notifications sent out by Facebook and LinkedIn when updates are posted. - Ed Samson, owner of Ameri-Clean Commercial Inc.


Introducing Aqueous Ozone

After reading the December 2012 cover story, “Cleaning Power Begins When Lightning Strikes,” I’d thought I’d share our experiences with the technology.

Four years ago, the University of Michigan department of Housing and Facilities sent one of our staff members to the ISSA/INTERCLEAN North America trade show in Chicago.

He brought back information about liquid ozone cleaning, which sparked our interest.

Subsequently, one of our vendors — Lansing Sanitary Supply — and the regional distributor for the aqueous ozone technology contacted us and came to our campus to provide a demonstration.

While we were interested, we did not pursue the idea further because, at that time, the equipment was limited to spray bottle units, which would be expensive and impractical to use on a large scale throughout our many buildings.

When the manufacturer developed a high-capacity unit a couple of years later, we tested the equipment and received approval from administrators to pilot a unit in one of our buildings for six weeks to see how effective it was for general cleaning purposes.

Initially, we tested for cleaning, but quickly realized that aqueous ozone was also a certified sanitizer.

We began using adenosine triphosphate (ATP) meters to determine its effectiveness in removing microbial contamination on different surfaces.

In comparison testing with traditional cleaning chemicals, aqueous ozone showed as good or better results.

After two successful pilots in two different residence halls, Facilities submitted a proposal to Housing administration to formally incorporate the new cleaning technology throughout our buildings; seven residence halls are now being cleaned with aqueous ozone.

There was some initial resistance because it was a change in what have been well-established and successful cleaning protocols.

To some staffs, this was a leap of faith because the traditional frame of reference was, “If you can see and smell the chemical, it’s cleaning.”

In our trainings — we work closely with our supplier and the manufacturer’s representative — we stressed that the aroma of bleach doesn’t mean that a surface is really clean.

A big part of the learning process is getting staffs to evaluate actual results and reframing their perceptions.

Aqueous ozone is not a “silver bullet” for all cleaning situations — it is not certified as a disinfectant, so we occasionally use a disinfectant to supplement the sanitization delivered by the aqueous ozone.

It provides a clean, sanitary environment for our students and staffs; we use aqueous ozone for cleaning and sanitizing roughly 80 percent of our spaces.

And, as aqueous ozone removes the chemical residue that builds up on surfaces such as carpets and grout lines, the restorative cleaning is noticeable.

It’s too soon to provide hard and fast figures, but we expect aqueous ozone technology to reduce our expenses on comparable cleaning chemicals up to 50 percent — or around $50,000 annually.

In addition to significantly decreasing the amount of chemicals we use, we have the advantages of reduced chemical handling and exposure to staffs, eliminating much of the chemical residue left behind on surfaces that students touch and reducing chemical residue that goes into the wastewater and sanitary system.

Interestingly, the program didn’t start as a sustainability initiative; it was a unique opportunity to raise cleaning outcomes in our student facilities while simultaneously reducing cleaning chemical expenditures.

As we realized the success of the technology and understood its positive impact on the environment, it became a very attractive addition to the many sustainability efforts going on at the university.

Our goal is to have nearly all residence halls at the University of Michigan utilizing aqueous ozone by the end of this year.

Continual review and examination of results, follow-up on staffs’ questions, training and education will be important to the success of this initiative.

It’s been very important to hear their comments, questions or concerns and respond expeditiously. - Joseph Kennedy, associate director of the department of Facilities and Housing at the University of Michigan.

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