MARTA approves air filters to protect employees from viruses

MARTA has stepped up deep cleaning of transit vehicles and stations to keep customers and employees safe amid the coronavirus pandemic. Now it's installing air purification systems to protect employees. (MARTA PHOTO)
MARTA has stepped up deep cleaning of transit vehicles and stations to keep customers and employees safe amid the coronavirus pandemic. Now it's installing air purification systems to protect employees. (MARTA PHOTO)

“Needlepoint bipolar ionization” sounds like a high-tech torture regimen from some dystopian sci-fi movie. But it’s part of MARTA’s plan to keep employees safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

The MARTA Board of Directors Thursday approved an $850,000 plan to install needlepoint bipolar ionization filters in air conditioning units at its office buildings, police precincts, bus garages and rail yard towers. The devices, which MARTA says eliminate airborne pathogens and deliver clean air without producing ozone or other harmful biproducts, will be installed in 209 AC units at 18 MARTA facilities.

The filters were recommended by a task force that has studied telework and other ways MARTA employees can work safely during the pandemic. In addition to screening pathogens, MARTA says the filters should reduce energy costs by 30 percent.

“Those employees who are able to productively continue working from home are encourage to do so, but we want to ensure that anyone who must work in or visit our facilities remains healthy,” CEO Jeffrey Parker said in announcing the filter installation program.

MARTA has stepped up cleaning, suspended bus fares and taken numerous other steps to keep employees and passengers safe during the pandemic.

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