The city of Pleasanton is introducing a new line of defense and protection for its facilities in the fight against COVID-19 — robot cleaners.
City officials are deploying three “UVD Robots,” acquired from Pleasanton-based firm SNAP Solutions, Inc., to supplement sanitization done by human cleaners, especially airborne particles. Pleasanton is the first city government in the U.S. to use such robot technology for cleaning during the pandemic, according to Cindy Chin, city public information officer.
“As the city continues to provide services to the Pleasanton community, we want to ensure that every precaution and effort has been made to protect residents and employees from the virus within city facilities,” City Manager Nelson Fialho said in a statement Monday.
“This is a game changer for the city, as we plan for the safe reopening of our major public facilities to the public, including the library, senior center, permit center and other high-frequented public buildings,” Fialho added. “The UVD Robots not only sanitize surfaces, but also kill airborne particles which most professional cleaning services do not offer.”
The city paid nearly $430,000 to purchase three UVD Robots from SNAP Solutions, which is based on Mission Drive.
Pleasanton bought one robot earlier in the year for $99,635.25, and then the City Council approved the purchase of two more for $328,044 as part of the consent calendar during its Aug. 18 meeting. They are funded through the city’s capital improvement project budget, with money allocated for COVID-19 response measures.
Chin said the city already uses enhanced professional cleaning and disinfecting services during the pandemic that include daily sanitization of facilities, frequent cleaning of high-touch points such as public counters and door handles and has updated its HVAC system.
The robot cleaners, which will be deployed at various city facilities in the coming weeks, will provide an extra layer of sanitization, according to Chin. They use UV-C technology often used by hospitals and airports to disinfect surfaces and airborne particles.
“The UVD Robots emit the required 254 nanometers of UV-C light and can kill COVID-19 on the surface and in the air, exposed to the light, in six seconds. Other viruses such as SARS, MERS, and mold would require longer exposure times to eradicate,” Kathleen Yurchak, the city’s director of operations and water utilities, told the council in her Aug. 18 staff report.
The robots are beneficial for being autonomous, minimizing staff exposure to potentially contaminated areas and can be transported securely among multiple city facilities as needed, Yurchak said.
“Another benefit is that UV-C light provides disinfection for a variety of surface types including soft-porous surfaces that cannot be laundered such as books at the library, dorm rooms at the fire stations, furniture and equipment at the police department, and facilities with high- risk populations such as the senior center,” she added.