During this COVID-19 outbreak, many employers, property managers, and property owners are tirelessly working to maintain clean and safe environments for tenants and employees. Cleaning contractors and janitorial services are working overtime, expending considerable efforts trying to maintain clean and disinfected workspaces and buildings. While providing their services, they face continual challenges of not having enough information regarding COVID-19 behavior, and the dwindling supply of cleaning and disinfecting agents. Many have inquired about microbial sampling and analytical methodologies to evaluate the effectiveness of these cleaning measures.
Some of us have been here before. Twenty years ago, property managers and tenants faced similar challenges in the wake of anthrax contamination of mailrooms in several prominent buildings. The approach we took then—collecting wipe samples from areas of concern for analysis at a nationally-recognized specialty laboratory—can offer peace of mind and an empirical basis for the evaluation of cleaning/disinfection effectiveness.
While specific testing for viruses, including the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), is not generally available, it is possible to test environments and surfaces for the presence of surrogate clinical pathogens and bacteria—these should be absent if cleaning and disinfection are effective.
Every building, tenant space, and office work environment is unique, and therefore it is important to develop site-specific plans. Staff collecting the samples should be trained in hazardous incident response, including microbiological and chemical impacts on structures and the environment, and should have the proper personal protective equipment (somewhat scarce at present in many locations).
About SCS Engineers
SCS Engineers is a 50-year-old, employee-owned environmental consulting and contracting firm that designs and implements sustainable and innovative environmental solutions. With 70 offices nationwide and nearly 1,000 employees, we are a full-service provider in the solid waste, hazardous waste, and environmental engineering industries. We study challenges and design solutions; we remediate, build and operate environmental and energy projects and systems; and, we evaluate the public health risk of hazardous materials exposure scenarios. As technologies, industry, and public needs change and expand, SCS evolves to provide innovative solutions to our clients’ challenges.
Most states’ guidance considers SCS’s services as essential to protect public health.
Contact SCS today at 800-767-4727 or for additional information and consultation regarding the effectiveness of cleaning/disinfection at your properties and workspaces in your state. Further information about SCS is on our website at https://www.scsengineers.com/.