Company that cleans murder scenes, asbestos tasked with disinfecting COVID-19

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CHICAGO RIDGE, Ill. (WGN) — They prefer to fly under the radar, yet are deeply involved in emergency management of the worst proportions.

One Chicago Ridge company, Celtic Environmental, is now getting directives from the CDC and the Illinois Department of Public Health to deal with COVID-19.

“We’re in the business of gross,” said operations manager Jeff Lenz.

While they usually deal with getting rid of asbestos, hazmat situations and even murder scenes, Celtic Environmental was recently called in to clean Loyola Academy. Classes at the Wilmette school opened Wednesday after a student was exposed to a COVID-19 case.

Being discreet when crisis strikes is Celtic’s top priority.

“Our vehicles are typically unmarked,” Lenz said. “Discreetness and privacy of any of our customers is extremely important to us always.”

Recently, the company has received dozens of inquires about how Celtic’s process and pricing works.

In operation since 2003, Loyola Academy has been Celtic’s only COVID-19 client, but they expect there will be more.

The disinfectant products Celtic uses are about three times as strong as the ones you’ll find on shelves at your local store.

Celtic’s staff, like superintendent Sean Ellis, are required to wear hazmat suits when they work.

“We’d have full face masks,” Ellis said. “Half-face and Tyvek suit.”

Celtic is dealing with one challenge during this uncertain time: there are few answers.

Celtic cannot say for sure how long the virus remains on a surface. The World Health Organization said it could live hours or for days depending on the environment.