NASA-inspired technology to be installed at jail

Jan. 29—Independent testing of an air disinfectant system at Muskogee County/City Detention Facility impressed commissioners, who invested in technology to help control the coronavirus, bacteria and mold in the air and on surfaces.

Muskogee County Sheriff's Office put ActivePure technology to the test during a two-week trial run in December. Sampling revealed significant reductions in the amount of bacteria, mold and fungal spores in the air and on surfaces at the end of the two-week period.

Les Whitaker of BioSafe Global Technologies said he was proud of the results produced by the two-week deployment of the NASA-inspired technology at the jail. The Muskogee businessman said the "proactive technology ... sends hydroxyl ions into the air on a seek-and-destroy mission to kill pathogens in real time."

"It doesn't have to suck air through a filter, which merely traps that contaminant," Whitaker said about the ActivePure technology, which he said was developed for use on the International Space Station. "This actually is a proactive technology that goes into the air and kills the pathogens."

Testing performed by ResInnova Labs found aerobic bacteria and fungal and mold on surfaces was reduced more than 90% after ActivePure technology was operational for two weeks. Sampling conducted by ResInnova Labs found aerobic bacteria and fungal and mold levels in the air were reduced by more than 80% during that same period of time.

Muskogee County Undersheriff Greg Martin said employees at the jail are "pretty excited" about plans to have the technology installed permanently. He said the two-week test took place right before the Omicron wave ramped up after Christmas, but "there was a noticeable difference."

District 3 Commissioner Kenny Payne said the jail is an ideal place to deploy this type of technology. Commissioners authorized the use of $60,753 from its American Rescue Plan Act funds to pay for the system and its installation at the jail.

"In that jail, there's only a certain amount of room for inmates," Payne said, noting the restrictions on their ability to move about. "Anything we can do to improve the odds of them not getting COVID — or anything else, I think — that's a good move for us."

Whitaker said ActivePure technology was cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in hospital settings. It has been deployed at the Cleveland Clinic and other prestigious medical facilities.

Muskogee County, Whitaker said, will be the first in to deploy the technology inside an Oklahoma jail. Annual maintenance, he said, costs about 15% of the total price of the system — about $9,000 for the system at the county jail.