Provided by Prince William County
Prince William County is partnering with MurLarkey Distillery in Bristow to make hand sanitizer that will go to first responders and healthcare workers.
Mike Larkin is the president and one of MurLarkey’s founders. He said the distillery recently made 30 gallons, or 300 units, in its first batch of hand sanitizer. But they ran out of glycerin, one of the key ingredients in making hand sanitizer.
They expect a delivery of glycerin that recently shipped from Ohio any time now, Larkin said. “We have everything we need except the glycerin. Once the glycerin comes in, we’ll be able to make enough to satisfy the Prince William County order request immediately and they can get it out to their locations.”
Making the Hand Sanitizer
The company is making the hand sanitizer under the guidance and blessing of the World Health Organization (WHO), Larkin said. “The World Health Organization sent us their recipe. It is a very, very powerful formula… with peroxide, glycerin, distilled water and 190-proof ethanol. We can’t just make hand sanitizer unless we’re licensed. They waived the licensing based upon the recipe.”
Matt Adkins is the Prince William County Hazardous Materials Coordinator. He said the Prince William Service Authority is also a valued member of this partnership. They were able to provide the initial supply of hydrogen peroxide MurLarkey needed to produce the WHO hand sanitizer formula.
Larkin said the people at the distillery had the idea to make the hand sanitizer and contacted the county. “We’re making ethanol, and 80 percent of hand sanitizer is ethanol. We knew we could do it. We’re doing everything in our power and the government’s been very helpful in helping us source the things we need.”
Lack of Bottles
One other hurdle the distillery faces is the lack of bottles to hold the hand sanitizer. Much like hand sanitizer on the commercial market, bottles are scarce, Larkin said. “We’re not going to be able to bottle it. There are no containers. We’re passing hand sanitizer out in zip lock bags right now.”
The county was able to procure bottles for their use, however. “MurLarkey is going to provide the county with 250 gallons in bulk, and we’re going to fill and refill bottles ourselves. The County’s Emergency Operations Center has a backlog of orders and will prioritize and fill orders for public safety agencies first and then the other county agencies with front-line workers in mission essential functions,” said Brian Misner, the County’s Emergency Management Coordinator.
“This is a great example of the whole community coming together to find a solution to a critical unmet need,” said Misner. “These local partnerships are critical to the County’s response to – and recovery from – this unprecedented national emergency in the weeks and months ahead.”
More information about the county’s response to COVID-19 is available at pwcgov.org/covid19.