City, county ramp up clean air efforts in public buildings

Courtesy photo

DEADWOOD — An air-cleaning unit that purports a 99.4% reduction of the SARS-CoV-2 surface strain will soon be installed in public buildings throughout Deadwood.

Monday, the Deadwood City Commission granted permission to hire Rasmussen Mechanical to install Global Plasma Solutions (GPS) ionization units, i.e., air scrubbers, in four public buildings in an amount not to exceed $35,000, to be paid from the Public Buildings Improvements budget with possible reimbursement from CARES funding.

“These units, known as air scrubbers use a high energy needle point type charge to kill viruses, mold spores and other bacterial air borne particles to ensure clean healthy air within our public buildings,” said Deadwood Safety, Transportation, and Maintenance Supervisor Tom Kruzel.

Tuesday, the Lawrence County Commission approved installation of the units on HVAC equipment in three of its buildings, as well, at a cost of $42,599. The county project also involves updating both WEB 600 controllers to N4 Jace in the annex and courthouse buildings, with a completion date no later than Dec. 29.

“With the COVID and everything going on, the CDC was talking about air quality in the buildings, so I looked into getting a system that we can put in, maybe to increase the air flow or upgrade our HVAC system,” said Lawrence County Maintenance Supervisor Tim Agena. “So I reached out to a couple of our HVAC contractors.”

Agena recommended the bipolar ionization, which kills COVID and other viruses.

Literature provided by the supplier, Global Plasma Solutions (GPS), says the air purification system achieves a 99.4% reduction of the SARS-CoV-2 surface strain within 30 minutes

“It would benefit us even beyond COVID,” Agena said, adding there are questions about whether or not the apparatus negatively affects the ozone, but that the company has addressed the question. “This technology has actually been around a long time and they’ve perfected it to where it doesn’t produce ozone. This particular company, they meet all those requirements.”

The units will be installed in all the air units in all the county buildings; a total of seven units in three buildings – the courthouse, public safety building, and the annex building.

“It’s very impressive what it actually does to the filtration system,” Agena said.

Commissioner Randy Deibert said to include them in the public safety building is as critical as any building.

Because the expenditure is likely not eligible for reimbursement with CARES Act funding, the county will be responsible for the cost of the upgrades. County officials say they will still submit the expenditure for potential reimbursement should additional CARES Act funding become available.

Kruzel explained that the technology used in the units is not new and that Monument Health installed the GPS ionization units in the upgrading of their new facilities.

“It is definitely approved. It gives us clean, healthy air within our buildings. The four buildings that we’re looking at doing with this is city hall, rec center, the visitor and information center, and the welcome center,” Kruzel said. “There are 17 units, actually, within those, that they’ll be doing. Average cost is around $2,000 a unit. It does vary. The one unit on the rec center is almost $6,000, just because of size. They’re based off of length of electrodes that go inside the units.”

Commissioner Gary Todd asked if the project was bid out.

Kruzel said that the project went out to quotes and that Rasmussen is the only contractor in the area doing the units right now, as GPS is the only company that has them available.

“Everybody else is about six to nine months out to get them in and this is an immediate move with these guys,” Kruzel said.

Commissioner Sharon Martinisko said the fix is a cheap one for the benefits it brings.

Deadwood’s expenditure will be paid from the Public Buildings Improvement budget.

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