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UWRL COVID-19 Vehicle Cleaning and Disinfection Plan

Prepared by Randy Martin, Joan McLean, Ryan Dupont
Approved by UWRL Director David Tarboton

Document Purpose

This document outlines the steps that will be undertaken to ensure the safety of UWRL staff and related field team members operating University, UWRL, or other project vehicles during the COVID-19 pandemic. This plan has been developed following USU general COVID-19 policies, USU research policies, and guidelines put forth via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as follows:

  • Each vehicle will be cleaned and disinfected before it can be check out by another person.

  • UWRL Business Office Staff will clean each vehicle after it has been checked back in to the UWRL and will leave a completed form on the driver’s seat in the vehicle to designate disinfection has occurred (see end of document for form).

  • If surfaces are visibly dirty, prior to disinfection, those surfaces should be cleaned with water and mild detergent as appropriate for the surface being cleaned.

  • Two disinfection protocols have been approved: ozone disinfection and/or wet disinfection.

  • While disinfecting the vehicles, employees must wear a mask, latex or nitrile gloves, and washable eyewear for their personal protection (see PPE Requirements below).

Ozone (O3) Disinfection

Gas-phase ozone (O3) can be used as an effective disinfection for the inactivation of surface viruses within enclosed systems (Tseng and Li, 2008; and others). Ozone disinfection is a function of concentration and exposure time, and the following guidelines are based on Tseng and Li (2008). UWRL/EQL has an A2Z Ozone, Inc. Model MP-3000 O3 generator which can be used for vehicle disinfection and checked out from the Business Office.

Ensure the silica gel in the drying tube is blue in color

  • If the silica gel is mostly pink, it needs to be replaced and regenerated; contact Joan McLean, Joshua Horton, Dr. Dupont, or Dr. Martin for help with silica gel replacement.

To disinfect a vehicle:

  • Close vehicle windows and doors during disinfection
    • It may be necessary to have one window slightly open for access to a power outlet

  • Place O3 generator in a centralized location in the vehicle -- make sure the O3 exhaust tube is unblocked, ideally pointing up

  • Plug the unit into a 120v AC circuit

  • Turn the TIMER dial to 15 minutes and the OZONE CONCENTRATION dial to 40
    • This is calculated to achieve a cab-wide O3 concentration of ≥10 ppm and achieve a virus destruction of ≥99% based on 50” x 60” x 70” cab (Dodge RAM 1500), with 200 ppm O3 flowrate of 14 Lpm (specified generator settings)

  • Turn the COMPRESSOR to the ON position

  • Turn the OZONE switch to the ON position

  • Close any open vehicle doors and windows and let the system operate until the timer shuts off

  • Open the vehicle doors/windows and allow the vehicle to vent for at least 10-20 minutes or until the smell of O3 (lightning/rain “fresh”) is no longer noticeable

WARNING: HIGH O3 CONCENTRATIONS ARE A HUMAN HEALTH HAZARD. It is important that no individuals remain in the vehicle while the O3 generator is operating.

WARNING:  INTERIOR O3 DISINFECTION DOES NOT DEACTIVATE VIRUS ON EXTERNAL SURFACES. All external touchpoints and surfaces should still be wet wiped, as described below.

Wet Disinfection/Cleaning Procedures

Use these wet disinfection/cleaning procedures in the case ozone disinfection is not possible. The guidelines listed below are summarized from the CDC protocols for non-emergency transport vehicles:

Ensure adequate vehicle ventilation – Vehicle doors and windows should remain open during disinfection to ensure adequate ventilation.

Focus on vehicle surfaces and touchpoints – Disinfecting efforts should focus on surfaces and touchpoints within the vehicle. These include, but are not limited to hard seats, arm rests, door handles, seat belt buckles, mirrors, light and air controls, inside door and window controls, and other grab handles.

  • Wipe or spray disinfectants on surfaces then let them dry naturally to allow sufficient contact time for virus inactivation
    • ELECTRONIC SURFACES – Use disinfectant spray with ≥70% alcohol solution or another manufacturer-approved product on electronic surfaces (touchscreens, tablets, etc.).
    • VEHICLE SURFACES – To avoid surface discoloration or deterioration, disinfects to be used should be bleach and hydrogen peroxide free, rather based on quaternary ammonium or citric acid

Recommended disinfectants include many Lysol products, Fantastik All-Purpose Cleaner, Nu-Gen Disinfectant Wipes, Panther Disinfectant Towelette, ClearCide Wipes, or a water solution with ≥70% alcohol, although this should be avoided for leather as it can lead to excessive drying.

Other suitable disinfectants can be found on EPA’s “Registered Antimicrobial Products for Use Against Novel Coronavirus SAR-CoV-2”; just make sure they are not bleach or hydrogen peroxide based

PPE Requirements during Disinfection/Cleaning

While disinfecting/cleaning a vehicle, individuals must wear the following:

  • A protective mask (N95, cloth, etc.). Clean or dispose of the mask following use
  • Disposable latex or nitrile gloves
  • Washable eye protection

The EQL will provide of gloves and eye protection to be kept in reception for use in vehicle disinfection.

UWRL Vehicle Disinfection Form( PDF)
Full UWRL Vehicle Cleaning and Disinfection Policy and Procedure (PDF)