Disinfection of Historical Library collection is performed in Konvac fumigation chamber purchased for PLN 311 100.
Items selected earlier for this process are placed in baskets and transported to the rooms in which the chamber is operated – one input batch includes 10 running meters of materials (6 or 9 baskets). The chamber is tightly closed and the software is started. First, the air is sucked out of the chamber and tightness is verified, then the resources are heated up and humidified by a steam generator and heaters for four hours in order to “activate” the dormant insects and microorganisms inside the books. Next, the chamber is filled with a strong toxic gas, Rotanox, including 9% of ethylene oxide and the rest is carbon dioxide, which eliminates the risk of auto-ignition. Gas feeding starts the process referred to as disinfection proper, which lasts 36 hours. Disinfection completed, washing is started automatically and includes pumping out the gas and feeding the chamber with fresh air. Current operations include 17 washing cycles – the removed ethylene oxide is fed through the catalyst, where it is burnt, and then, through the filters to the atmosphere.
Physical presence of chamber operators is required only for chamber loading and unloading, as well as opening and closing the gas cylinder valve and checking measuring equipment indications – gas detectors (one located in the disinfection chamber, the other one in quarantine chambers, to which processed materials are transferred after completed cleaning). The process of ventilation is assisted by fans and lasts a few days. The control room is located above the chamber, in the bookbinder’s workshop, where the disinfection process can be viewed on a computer screen; additionally, voice communications inform the operator about the progress.
The toxic gas used for disinfection requires the use of personal protection equipment by the chamber operators (mask with cartridge for organic vapors, tightly worn safety glasses, safety gloves made of butyl or neoprene rubber, head protection and safety apron). The chamber should be operated by two persons.
The chamber allows disinfection of two batches weekly on average.