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County considering ionizers for AC units

The county Board of Supervisors is considering purchasing small ionizer units that would be installed in the air conditioning ducts of county buildings as a preventive measure against the spread of the coronavirus in offices and public places such as the two Courthouses.

David Jenkins, owner of Jenkins Refrigeration, pitched the idea to the supervisors at the first meeting of February. Jenkins said the units are about $1,100 each, including installation, and would be an added layer of security against the spread of the infectious disease for county employees and taxpayers.

Jenkins said the ionizer units generate ion charges that cause pollutants in the air to cluster together and fall to the ground. Besides killing the virus that causes COVID-19, Jenkins said the improved air quality with less dust and other particulates in the air for people to breathe.

Jenkins said the ionizers he hopes to sell to the county will increase filter life and decrease energy consumption by producing the cleaner air. The ionizers were developed for the aviation industry for military planes to be able to fly into areas contaminated by biological chemicals without endangering the safety of pilots.

The units are manufactured by Global Plasma Solutions. A description of the units on the company’s website reads:

“Through our patented technology, needlepoint bipolar ionization, also known as NPBI®, our products purify indoor air by reducing airborne particulates, odors and pathogens — all while saving you energy consumption and lowering your carbon footprint.
GPS delivers clean indoor air without producing ozone or other harmful byproducts.”

Supervisors were receptive of the idea, agreeing that the Courthouses and the County Jail would benefit from the extra precautions. The board tabled the matter for a month while they learn more about the products and give County Administrator Kate Victor time to research whether the expenditure would be reimbursable by the CARES Act, a federal program designed to aid states, schools, and municipalities with the tremendous burden of fighting the spread of COVID-19.

Jenkins said the ionizers are already in use at Ole Miss, LSU, Harvard, Clemsoon, John Hopkins University, Boston Children’s Hospital, and many others places across the country.

Jenkins was also on the agenda for the Tuesday, Feb. 23, meeting of the Batesville Mayor and Board of Aldermen, which was cancelled. The next meeting of that board will be Tuesday, March 2, at which time Jenkins will presumably make the same pitch to aldermen for installation of ionizers in city-owned buildings.