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SARS-COV-2 Wastewater Sampling

SARS-COV-2 Wastewater Sampling

In November 2020, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced that $6,539,138 in grant funding and an additional $3,087,431 in laboratory equipment has been awarded to 20 recipients across the State to support a three-month pilot program to test for the COVID-19 virus in wastewater. These pilot programs are being run by a network of 29 local health departments, 18 laboratories, and 125 university, municipal and other partners across Michigan.

The increase of COVID-19 cases is typically tracked by testing people with symptoms, an indicator that lags behind the actual spread of the disease. Testing wastewater for viruses, such as the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, can be an effective tool for monitoring transmission of COVID-19 within a local community or at individual facilities up to 3 days in advance of the onset of symptoms. The virus is shed in human waste, including people who are not ill or have not yet become ill. The virus can then be detected by testing samples taken from sewers and wastewater treatment plants, with results often being available earlier than human clinical samples. These results can then inform local public health actions to prevent further spread within that community.

As part of a 12-week pilot study, The Mannik & Smith Group (MSG) is providing sampling of wastewater for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), for the State of Michigan. This work includes weekly sample collection from an untreated wastewater outflow location, delivery to the analytical laboratory within 24 hours for analysis, and a Sampling Summary Report provided to the client within 1 week of receiving the analytical results from each sampling event.

Wastewater sampling is a non-invasive and cost effective mechanism to provide an early warning for the potential presence of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus within the facility/environment tested. This early detection information can assist with proactive and protective actions to limit further spread of the disease before cases begin to occur. Currently, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines indicate that composite wastewater samples of raw sewage are preferred over grab samples, however grab samples are allowable in certain situations.

For more information please email Poonam Rameshbabu