Cleaning site in Madison aims to decontaminate PPE for re-use

Posted at 10:29 PM, May 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-05 23:29:03-04

While Personal Protective Equipment is still hard to come by, a decontamination site in Madison promises to clean as many as 80,000 N95 masks a day and get them back into circulation.

The Critical Care Decontamination System designed by the Battlle Company has been set up in a warehouse in Madison. It was designed during the Ebola crisis in 2015 and then ramped up in size during the COVID-19 crisis.

The system uses Hydrogen-Peroxide to clean the masks. Inside large shipping containers turned into air tight chambers; the masks are decontaminated.

“We seal the container and run the hydrogen peroxide gas and we make sure that we run it all the way down to a six log decontamination” says Caitlyn Farragher with Battelle systems.

The hope is to clean 80,000 masks a day when the site is up and running later this week. The masks that are dropped off are all bar coded and tracked through the process. Within 72 hours they are cleaned and released back to the healthcare provider who dropped them off.

“Every time we are able to reuse an n95 respirator, safely by [decontaminating] it, that’s one less that we have to struggle to get” says Kevin Wernet with the Wisconsin Department of Emergency Management.

This is the only of its kind in the state, but the company is setting up 60 across the nation. There are other types of decontamination sites in Wisconsin, however they are largely UV light machines.

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