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Environmental Firms Remediating Sites, Disinfecting Surfaces During COVID-19 Outbreak

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By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS AND REVIEW

St. Louis-based environmental remediation firms are working around the clock to remediate and disinfect sites during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Crossroads Construction Services, Inc. President Jeremy Rodriguez says his company is in the midst of an asbestos abatement project in a Saint Louis University social sciences building. Although no classes are currently taking place on campus due to the pandemic, Rodriguez said his crew is working quickly to finish the remediation – hopefully by next week – so SLU facilities staff can completely shut down the campus for the time being.

“We’re still doing our work, but social distancing and other safety-related requirements make it difficult,” Rodriguez said. “We’re feeling a tightening in the supply chain with some of the critical equipment we need, such as half-face and full-face respirator masks. We’re blessed right now to still be working, but I’m trying to weigh at what point it’s most beneficial to shut it down. The safety my guys is everything. I’d rather lose jobs but keep my guys safe. It is what it is,” he added.

Thom Wellington, president of Wellington Environmental, is in a similar situation. Wellington wears several hats, one of them as head of Wellington Environmental and another as co-founder of Infection Control University. The cloud-based learning center provides staff and healthcare with 24/7 training to manage risks and reduce hospital-acquired infections.

“We’re training everyone who enters hospitals through the back door – construction crews, pharmaceutical sales professionals and others – what to do so they don’t unintentionally cause infection through the work they’re doing at healthcare institutions,” said Wellington. “Right now with COVID-19, it’s a big deal. Last weekend we had an individual at a construction site, a renovation of a commercial building in West (St. Louis) County, who tested positive for the virus. Wellington Environmental was called upon to disinfect that construction site. Earlier this week we disinfected another construction site early in the morning, prior to when crews returned to work that day.”

Disinfecting high-rise construction sites across St. Louis has also been keeping the firm busy.

“We’re currently going into a lot of these high-rises and fogging with a small particle grade disinfectant,” he said. “We’re not ruining anything, but we are coating everything. So if there is any virus living on a surface, this will kill it. We’re getting a lot of surfaces such as elevator buttons and areas in break rooms or rest rooms that aren’t typically reached (with disinfectant). COVID-19 has caught a lot of people off guard in terms of the degree to which it is impacting construction sites, and buildings and people.”

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