LOUISVILLE, Ky —- At times it’s easy to forget something as common as bleach can be life-saving.
“We wipe down this building three times a day,” said Mark Hogg. Hogg, the founder, and CEO of WaterStep. The Louisville-based non-profit helps nations around the world have access to clean water and bleach in times of crisis.
“Bleach and chlorine are powerful tools in every metropolitan city around the world to be used in water to kill pathogens,” Hogg implores.
WaterStep builds and provides easy-to-use kits for making either chlorine or concentrated bleach.
In 2019 the organization was deployed to the Democratic Republic of Congo to aid communities battling the Ebola virus. Now amid America’s COVID-19 outbreak, Hogg has turned his attention to his home city.
“We’ve got to find ways that we can deploy bleach at the lowest levels to the highest levels and everybody’s using it.”
To comply with CDC recommendations, organizations are cleaning and disinfecting their facilities more often which has created an increased demand for bleach. Louisville’s homeless shelters, according to Hogg are experiencing this shortage.
“Some day-shelters are taking care of hundreds of people, imagine the surfaces that need to be prepared often. Homeless shelters can’t afford the bleach to do that. Now they can’t even get the bleach often. We were with a homeless shelter today and they were out of bleach," Hogg told Spectrum News 1.
WaterStep has provided and trained staff at several Louisville homeless shelters. Just one bleach-making kit can produce five liters of concentrated bleach in less than 90 minutes.
“Remember we are making a concentrated bleach solution. 5% bleach solution that the World Health Organization has approved for use with medical waste. This is going to exceed that amount and if we want to clean surfaces with it we can cut by a factor of 10 so then I am able to clean surfaces so imagine five liters turning into 50 liters!”
The devices use only water, table salt and electricity to create the bleach. WaterStep has sent kits to Wayside Christian Mission, Salvation Army, St. Vincent De Paul and other organizations.