New electrostatic cleaners make sanitizing easier for RTD

In March, as the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic grew, RTD, like other businesses and government entities, scrambled to source personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies, like Clorox wipes.  

RTD had to wait weeks, and sometimes, months because of shortages of these items. Luckily, the agency had a limited supply of items on hand, such as gloves and N95 masks. The agency’s purchasing division was able to obtain hand sanitizer locally early on in the pandemic from a CBD company based in Colorado Springs. 

One of the in-demand items on back order was the EvaClean Protexus Backpack, an electrostatic sprayer. RTD purchased and took delivery of 16 of them last month. RTD’s safety team distributed six to light rail operations, eight to bus operations and two to the facilities division. These sprayers are being used to clean RTD light rail vehicles, buses and facilities. On June 10, technical training teams within bus and light rail operations developed a 30-minute training and taught service and cleaning employees how to use these new backpacks.

“They provide hospital-grade disinfection of our vehicles and facilities,” said Dan McClain, senior manager of safety and environmental.

According to the makers of this cleaner, the “touchless electrostatic technology ‘wraps around’ surfaces and objects in 360 degrees, providing three times more coverage in the same amount of time than traditional spray bottles, buckets and rags.” 

“Because of the static charge, it clings to everything in all places, even hidden spaces,” said McClain.  

Tim Walker, manager of light rail vehicle maintenance, noted that every train gets sprayed every day when it comes back in from service. That’s 84 light rail cars each day. 

“It takes about five minutes to clean a train,” Walker said. “Hand-wiping each train took up to 20 minutes, so this saves time and employees.” 

On the bus side, it’s about the same amount of time to clean, although employees are still hand-cleaning the drivers’ area, according to Tony Romero, manager of the maintenance operating division.

“The product is very safe,” Walker said. “You drop one tablet in two gallons of water for the cleaner. The dilution ratios for the cleaner is less than that of the dilution use for water treatment, so it’s very safe.  

“What this does is it allows us to spend more time on other vehicles for a more thorough clean,” Walker continued. “Our No. 1 goal is to protect our customers. With the electrostatic cleaning, and with customers wearing masks and washing their hands, we can all fight COVID.” 

Brian Iacono, senior manager of RTD’s materials management division, said that “we are starting to see the supply chain open up.” Concerning supplies such as masks, hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies, he said, “we are in pretty decent shape, all things considered.”

Electrostatic Cleaning