In a continuing effort to improve hygiene for travelers, Pittsburgh International Airport this week will introduce its first high-tech handwashing station, the first of its kind in a U.S. airport.
The station will be installed at the airport’s Landside train platform, just past the TSA security checkpoint, which was identified as a high-touch area in airport staff workshops analyzing the passenger journey during the pandemic.
“This handwashing station continues our mission of making PIT the safest, healthiest airport we possibly can,” said Travis McNichols, Vice President for Public Safety. “We know the security process involves close contact with shared resources as well as other people, and this station—along with hand sanitizers and accessible restrooms—is an additional opportunity for passengers to focus on their healthy journey.”
The CleanTech machine was created by hygiene technology firm Meritech, which says its product is the only fully automated touch-free hand washing station in the world. It features two bays where users can wash their hands thoroughly, for free, without touching any surfaces.
Users place their hands into a pair of cylinders to activate 20 jet nozzles that spray a combination of water and soap on each hand. Meritech officials say the 12-second process removes more than 99.9% of dangerous pathogens, which will help eliminate the transfer of harmful germs.
The machine is also efficient. Just more than half a gallon of water is used in each wash cycle, 75 percent less water than a manual handwash, according to Meritech. In fact, when washing your hands manually, about 60 percent of the water you use never even touches your hands, the company says.
Nearby paper towel dispensers allow users to dry their hands.
Airport officials said the station is a pilot program that will be tested for the next few months at no cost to the airport.