St.Michael/Albertville Public School District

BRINGING A TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE TO CLEANING

Believe me, if my staff didn’t like cleaning with aqueous ozone, I wouldn’t use it. I won’t throw new equipment in there if they won’t use it. They’re using it - and loving it.

Terry Zerwas, Director of Buildings and Grounds
St. Michael/Albertville Public School District

Quick Facts

  • Public School District in Minnesota with 8 Buildings, 6,080 Students
  • GRAMMY Signature District with Award-Winning Music Program
  • Motto is “Excellence Is Our Tradition”
  • AP Honor Roll District, Top 15% of MN Schools

St.Michael Albertville Knights logo

"A while ago I tried to switch from chemicals using a product called Activeion. It didn't work worth squat," recalls Zerwas. "Then, three years ago my supplier asked me to try another alternative to chemicals, Tersano's aqueous ozone. I was skeptical, of course, because of my previous experience, but I agreed to give it a shot. I'm glad I did because it's fantastic."

Zerwas leads a staff of 41 in cleaning all eight school buildings in the St. Michael/Albertville school district in central Minnesota. From classrooms to cafeterias, offices to bathrooms, Zerwas' staff works three shifts cleaning over 1.5 million square feet. "I put the dispenser in our high school first — our toughest building to clean.  I told our head custodian to try it and let me know how he likes it. He loved it—and his crew gave it glowing reviews."

Zerwas' team uses the aqueous ozone to clean stainless steel, porcelain, tile, granite, glass and just about any other hard surface. "We actually really like what it does to our carpets," shares Zerwas. "We use the snot out of it on all our carpets.  The old chemicals would leave carpets sticky and crunchy. This leaves them feeling soft and smelling clean with no residue."

"The toughest areas to clean are the weight rooms, wrestling rooms, and gymnastics areas," he explains. "The kids are rolling all over with their skin touching the mats. When we used chemicals to clean the mats, the kids would end-up with all sorts of skin issues and fungus problems. Since we switched to aqueous ozone, there have been no skin disorders. The issues have disappeared."

Zerwas is proud of embracing new technologies and processes like switching from old school chemicals to new style stabilized aqueous ozone. "When other districts tour our district, I take them to our bathrooms and ask them what they smell.  They say 'nothing.' I say 'Exactly!'  Clean is the absence of odor—including perfumes.  Our bathrooms simply smell fresh."

Does Zerwas think his staff will ever want to switch back to chemicals? "I don't think so," he reflects. "When we moved from cleaning just the high school to three or four more buildings with aqueous ozone, I gave staff the choice of stopping at just the three or four buildings — or using it in all eight of our buildings. They told me to go all in and that's just what we've done."