The Rice County Board of Commissioners today approved spending $107,752 to place Bi-Polar Ionization air cleaning devices in six county owned buildings.

Parks and Facilities Director Matt Verdick explained to the board, "Ionization can neutralize up to 99.4 percent of the virus in 30 minutes in the air throughout the entire building.  I'm looking at adding it to the Government Services Building, Courthouse, Law Enforcement Center, Jail Annex, Community Corrections and Highway Department.  Looking to use CARES ACT funds in the amount of $107,752.  We're looking to get this project done before November 30th.  So we're starting this weekend and going to wrap up over the weekend, we're hoping if this is approved today."

Commissioners did unanimously approve the request after asking for some more details.  Verdick told them he researched the product and asked several cities and counties that have installed it in their buildings what their experience has been.  In particular he talked about a conversation with an official from Anoka County.

Verdick said, "This is an item that we install on our existing air handlers. It also doesn't emit ozone so it's not harmful to the environment and it's easy to maintain. Also what's nice is, say you need to swap out an air handler, you can take the device off and put it on the new air handler.  So it's a long term device for us that has a benefit.  It also doesn't just take care of  viruses it can also help neutralize bad air in the room.  Like bad odors and help clean up the air overall.  It's a really good product overall and benefits in the pandemic as well."

The devices are coming from SVL Inc, of Roseville, Mn.  The manufacturer's website of these Bi-Polar Ionization devices says they've been installed in The White House, University of Minnesota Aquatic Center and Minnesota State Capitol building.

SVL Roseville, Mn. Compact NPBI. Photo from website

Rice County Commissioners also approved CARES Act funding for:

  • Northfield Hospital and Clinics in the amount of $40,000 for the creation of a COVID-19 clinic.
  • Laura Baker Services of Northfield- $8,000 for sanitation and PPE supplies.
  • Northfield WiFi Wireless Tower Project- $32.716.65 to provide broadband serves to unserved or underserved areas in northern Rice County.  Areas of Northfield and Waterford Township in Dakota County.

Commissioner Steve Underdahl did ask about the fact Northfield Hospital is located in Dakota County.  County Administrator Sara Folsted said there are clinics in Rice County so the funding won't be a problem.

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