Orbio OS3 units were installed in 25 of our larger buildings (about 50,000 square feet and above) with 17 of these buildings receiving one or more satellite stations. Our main warehouse received an OS3 unit to produce cleaning chemical for satellite-only locations in 13 smaller buildings. We have a large warehouse that delivers weekly to each school building, so placement of just a satellite at smaller locations saved significant upfront cost.

Return on investment for equipment purchased created an operating budget savings of about $50,000 the first three years. The OS3 units have three items needing replacement: the PH Probe, every year; the E-Cell, every 36,000 gallons; and the manifold module, every 120,000 gallons. It has been calculated that the $50,000 savings will reduce to around $35,000 after roughly three years, as E-Cells and manifold modules will need to be replaced.

We also found, based on our tests, that Orbio provided the greatest amount of shelf life for the ready-to-use cleaning product — the sanitizer/disinfectant at seven days, and the multipurpose cleaner at 90 days. Since we provide our cleaning chemical to district teachers, the 90-day multipurpose cleaner fit our needs the greatest.

Although everyone would like a PH of 7, or just plain water to clean, we felt Orbio offered a greater range of PH for cleaning in a K-12 setting. Sanitizer/disinfectant kill factors and dwell times for each system were evaluated, and Orbio was significant for our department’s expectations. We also met with your district’s nurse coordinator who was very satisfied with the kill rate factors.

Working with our staff, we tested the various engineered water programs, and the feedback was overwhelming that our custodians preferred the Orbio System.

But whatever engineered water system you may select, remember that there are numerous other benefits to these systems that should be considered. For example, we utilize a restroom cleaning machine from Kaivac, which results in significant savings in cleaning times. It eliminates the process of pre-spraying your chemical solution. In an average size, full restroom, we save about two to three minutes.

When using engineered water systems, there is also no chemical residue left behind on surfaces cleaned. That means there is nothing to attract organic soil to surfaces and you have created cleaner environments.

Departments using these systems are producing cleaning chemicals, which saves time in ordering product, stocking and paying shipping fees.

And finally, there are sustainability advantages to using engineered water. We calculated saving the production of 2,184 plastic gallon-sized bottles and 546 shipping boxes, as well as transportation emissions. 

MICHAEL JONES is the director of custodial services at Columbia Public Schools in Columbia, Missouri. Under his leadership, the district has been recognized with two green cleaning awards: 2010 Best New Program, and 2011 Grand Award for K-12 Schools. Michael is also a founding member of Healthy Schools Campaign’s National Green Cleaning Schools Leadership Council.