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UW introduces ICM

The University of Washington Custodial Services department has a long history of cleaning for healthier, safer indoor environments while using the best products and procedures available. The UW recently was the first university to use ICM (Integrated Cleaning and Measurement) to begin the process of validating cleaning procedures within its facility. The UW Custodial Services team was recognized for its Green Cleaning Program by AS&U by earning the Grand Green Cleaning Award for Universities and Colleges in 2007 and again in 2010.

In an e-mail interview with CIJ, Gene Woodward, Director of Building Services with the University of Washington said, “Integrated Cleaning & Measurement (ICM) is an approach to verifying and validating the results of cleaning by using scientific measurements. This goes beyond the necessary and important visual inspections that we customarily depend on which are unable to detect the microscopic organisms, contaminants, and/or particles on surfaces that may be dangerous to our health.

“To implement one must be trained on the particular detective devices to be used or use trained industrial hygienist. We are currently testing for ATP or organic materials that are an indicator that a surface may have harmful bacteria or viruses.”

ATP is an organic matter that is found in all living and once living cells. The higher the count, the higher the probability that the surface is contaminated with possible bacteria or viruses. The lower the count, the more likely that the surface is free of harmful micro organism.

“We have incorporated ATP detection into our training programme and into our quarterly inspection efforts. We are fine-tuning the standards, and frequency of inspections to be conducted. We also conduct ATP testing and air sampling when evaluating equipment, cleaning solutions, etc.” This kind of scientific sampling is critical for today’s cleaning organisations. “We can know which equipment and which processes are capable of reducing the ATP count to zero if there was ever any kind of outbreak which required a completed deep clean. We can know which cleaning methods and solutions lower the counts the most, which floor cleaning produces reduces dust particles, etc.”

Gene Woodard recently accepted the seat on Healthy Facilities Institute (HFI) Advisory Board. Woodard has been the Director of Custodial Services at the University of Washington, Seattle, for 25 years, and is currently the Director of Building Services, which includes Custodial Services and Recycling and Solid Waste programmes.

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