WaterStep is providing several of its patented BleachMakers to help homeless shelters in Louisville, Kentucky combat the spread of COVID-19. So far, Wayside Christian Mission, The Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul, and The St. John Center for Homeless Men have all received a BleachMaker and staff has been trained on how to use it. Training is scheduled at The Healing Place today and more requests are coming in daily.
"Bleach is extremely effective against viruses and bacteria," says Dr. Bill Smock, MD, MS, FACEP, FAAEM, Louisville, KY Metro Police Department, The Clinical Forensic Medical Program Director and Police Surgeon, and WaterStep Medical Advisor. "When bleach is unavailable or too expensive, manufacturing it on-site with WaterStep's BleachMaker is the best defense we have. The Coronavirus can live on some surfaces for 14 days. Cleaning all surfaces, especially in hospitals, clinics and public areas, and avoiding potential respiratory hazards, are best practices to avoid contamination for any virus."
The award-winning portable BleachMaker was created to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. It is a handheld device that produces disinfectant strong enough to meet the world health organization's standards, and it can be used to sanitize hospitals and medical clinics, kitchens and cooking surfaces, clothing. The device is powered by water and table salt and plugs into an electric source. It can generate a gallon (5 liters) of concentrated bleach in about an hour. WaterStep's portable BleachMaker won the Environmental Protection's Award for New Product of the Year in 2016.
"In 2019 alone, more than 100 doctors used WaterStep's BleachMaker to significantly help reduce further infection of the Ebola virus in The DRC," says Dr. J.J. Muyembe, National Institute for Biomedical Research, Minister of Health, The Democratic Republic of Congo.
WaterStep has responded to 14 different natural disasters since 2009. These include the earthquake in Costa Rica in 2009, the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, the flooding in Pakistan in 2010 and 2011, the typhoon in the Philippines in 2013, the typhoon in India in 2013, the earthquake in Nepal in 2015, the earthquake in Ecuador in 2016, the landslide in Colombia in 2017, the hurricane in Puerto Rico in 2017, the volcano in Guatemala in 2018, Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas in 2018, the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2019, and the flooding in Malawi in 2019.
The concept for the BleachMaker originated in 2014 at Hack2O, a hack-a-thon hosted by WaterStep and FirstBuild, that gathered over 60 innovators to explore and develop ideas to ease the world water crisis. WaterStep staffled a group of engineers from the University of Louisville, the Louisville Water Company and General Electric's FirstBuild Innovation Center who worked together to develop the powerful disinfectant tool. It was funded by the Louisville Water Foundation, UPS and GE.
WaterStep, headquartered in Louisville, KY, is a 501(c)(3)nonprofit organization that believes everyone should have access to safe water and that no one should suffer from waterborne illnesses. WaterStep implements water projects and equips people with tools and training in water purification, disaster relief, health education, and well repair. Since its founding in 1995, WaterStep has brought safe water to nearly 3 million people in over 55 countries. For more information, visit waterstep.org.