GCA 2017 Silver Award K-12/School Districts: Elk Grove Unified School District, Elk Grove, Calif.

GCA 2017 Silver Award K-12/School Districts: Elk Grove Unified School District, Elk Grove, Calif.

Program Information

Total number of students: 1,700

Total square footage maintained: 184,000

Total number of custodians: 9

Total annual cleaning budget: $1,500 (chemicals only)

Green cleaning team members: Administrators: Michael Gulden, Sandra Wiest, Tracey Panuschka, Shelly Clark; Lead Custodian: Tom De Lucia; Mark Maroney, Oscar Machado, Ron Gregiore, Scot Santucci, Margaret Ewen, Kathleen Aguilar, Leonard Ortiz, Brenda Chan, Eddy Silva


In 2000, the previous Manager for Elk Grove USD (EGUSD) began looking for less expensive, more effective, more environmentally friendly products to clean the growing number of sites in her charge. At the time the district was using about 15 separate cleaning products. Shortly thereafter the district was introduced to a “green” hydrogen peroxide cleaning product claiming that, in varying strengths and dilutions, it could clean just about every surface in a school – from toilets to counters. Skeptical of the effectiveness of green certified products, the product was tested by one of the district’s supervisors, who was surprised to discover how well it worked. Using an ATP meter, custodians took a reading of 710 RLU’s down to 8 RLU. When this cleaning product was diluted (automatic dilution center) it killed 99.9% of major germs and viruses on a variety of surfaces, like glass, walls, floors, tile, grout, toilets, urinals, carpets and kitchen counters leaving behind little to no residue. All EGUSD schools were soon transitioned to the new cleaner.

Since then the district has broadened its green cleaning program with team cleaning techniques and with Protean (HEPA filter) backpack vacuums. The goal is to create a healthier indoor environment for children and teachers.

On site generation has also been added to the district’s green cleaning arsenal. Three sites in the district have been using OSG technology for 2-6 years.

EGUSD’s holistic green cleaning program encompasses leadership, continual training, dilution, disposal, adopting procedures, education, recycling, involving the right people, evaluating current cleaning practices, selecting the right product and process, teamwork abs staying on top of the most current policies and practices and ensuring they are implemented.


Cleaning Procedures and Strategies

A district wellness policy implemented in 2006 includes proper and frequent hand washing (AR5030C).  In addition, hand washing is also a part of the district’s Injury and Illness Prevention program.

All custodians receive training in proper cleaning procedures from orientation through mandatory monthly trainings. Part of this training is meant to simplify the cleaning process -- a five-step cleaning system that is extremely simple to follow: Clean and sanitize door handles, whiteboards, and pencil sharpeners, pick up big papers on floor and empty trash. The procedure is concluded at the end of shift with vacuuming and then followed by project time. Project time is always focused on cleaning for health, i.e. cleaning, sanitizing, or disinfecting common touch points.

Site supervisors and lead custodians receive monthly training, which they are then responsible for passing on to their site crews.

Twice annual training is held for all Custodian I staff. Addionally, an all-day training is provided for all custodial staff each summer. Demonstrations of new equipment, new products, and procedures promote a healthier cleaning experience.

Currently the three schools in the district use OSG technology as their primary cleaning product. Backpack vacuums were introduced in 2004 and HEPA filters (added in 2010) are routinely changed every 3-4 months.

Over the last six years EGUSD has implemented several green cleaning processes and has made a big imprint with green construction. Rubber flooring requires no harsh chemicals to clean. By avoiding caustic strippers to remove the finish, the health risk to students and staff in terms of both VOCs and slips and falls is reduced. Currently EGUSD uses a 3M prep pad and water to aggressively remove floor finish.

EGUSD is slowly introducing micro fiber mops and cleaning rags, and all school sites currently use micro fiber table mops. The district adopted 118 H2 orange2 in 2000, which it says was one of the first green products available.

In addition to green cleaning, Dillard Elementary in the district has Girl Scouts running the recycling program. Students are a huge part of the district’s recycling efforts and take ownership of the program. They collect once a week from all classrooms and offices.  Each classroom is furnished with a bin for bottles and glass, another for cardboard and paper. The recycling is picked up once a week.

Mix Elementary uses custodial staff to empty all recycling bins on campus. It is not separated and is placed in the appropriate dumpster and is picked up once a week.

Cosumnes River Elementary has a more specific program.  All classrooms, offices, library, etc. have small blue recycling bins for paper and cardboard only.  The custodial staff picks these up every other day.

At various outside locations around campus, there are large recycle bins specific for plastic bottles and aluminum cans.  Large cans are also located by the front office and outside of the gate so anyone can drop off bottles and cans at any hour of the day.

In the Cosumnes River’s multipurpose room, students use three recycle bins: One each for plastic bottles and aluminum cans, cardboard lunch trays, and Capri Sun pouches (which are made with aluminum).  The cardboard and Capri Suns are collected by the custodian and put into the Dumpster. Once a week, a volunteer from the local Kiwanis Club comes by to collect all plastic bottles and aluminum cans and takes them to the recycling center for cash.  He then gives the money to the school. 



EGUSD custodial managers and supervisors strive to provide and promote healthy cleaning habits, which include annual training, monthly meetings, and sub-custodian training.  Custodians are encouraged to fully embrace green cleaning procedures.

Staff have been familiarized with GenEon engineered water, and the district is preparing to install the new equipment at five other schools. It has been so well received that it has been budgeted for new school construction.

All HVAC filters are replaced at all sites every three to four months. The district’s IPM program uses environmentally preferred products whenever possible.

In 2006, EGUSD established a Routine Restricted Maintenance Custodial Team to enable a several specially trained custodians in the district to provide specialized and alternative cleaning methods to our school sites. The RRMCT routinely cleans carpets using a mobile hot water extraction cleaning system (truck mount). By routinely removing heavy soils, dirt and other foreign debris, the district is able to promote the longevity of its carpets, minimizing the amount of carpet going to the landfill and ensuring the environment is clean and healthy for the next school day.

In addition each mobile truck is equipment with OSG technology, which allows the RRMCT to clean, sanitize and disinfect without having to travel with harsh chemicals on board. A mister used in classrooms, gyms, restrooms, locker rooms, offices, playground structures and other common areas incorporates the same technology. The RRMCT also provides daily touch point cleaning to all common tough points in classrooms on an ongoing basis, preventing infections. The mobile teams also use microfiber rags to clean.

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