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story.lead_photo.caption Carson Shackelford power washes playground equipment with 200 degree water. Photo by Paula Tredway / California Democrat.

At the beginning of February in honor of Random Acts of Kindness Day, Wash Authority posted its first Playground Cleaning and Sanitation Offering that was open to public and private elementary schools around the Jefferson City, Lake Ozark and Columbia areas.

Participation was easy — simply comment your school's name and the top ten schools with the most votes would be chosen.

"We probably had close to 50 schools participate, and California won it with flying colors," owner Karen Loaiza-Wulff said. "The community has lots of Pinto pride, and they rack up a lot of votes. They came in first place so they were our first to receive this."

Wash Authority's goal is to give back to its surrounding communities by removing environmental soiling, grime and winter germs from playground equipment to get it ready for the children to use in the spring.

"People don't really think about how a playground actually needs cleaning, but it really does," Loaiza-Wulff said. "It accumulates a lot of germs over time and it needs to be properly washed with sanitizers and cleaners that can help break the germs down."

The process takes about an hour to complete. They start off spraying the equipment down with 200 degree water, adding in some strong sanitizers. Once it sits for about an hour, they give it a good rinse down to make sure everything is clean.

Students at California Elementary School will have bright, clean playground equipment waiting for them this spring that should be protected from visible soil for about two years.

Wash Authority plans on continuing this contest every year in February.

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