Not long after SARA-CoV-2 (COVID) began invading our lives, Lakehaven was approached by researchers at Arizona State University who were putting together a Wastewater Based Epidemiology study to monitor for COVID at wastewater treatment plants. The idea was to explore the development of large area-wide monitoring networks as early warning systems for community level infection trends. Like many viruses, COVID is shed from humans into the waste stream. While it does not survive long without a host, remnants of the virus and other pathogens can be detected in wastewater treatment plant influent by laboratory sampling. The results of periodic sampling can provide early trends indicating whether local infections are increasing or decreasing within a community. The results of weekly sampling from our local treatment plants tend to support this concept when compared to other trends produced by our local health department based on confirmed cases.
This type of work is now being done in many states within our country and in other countries around the world. While Wastewater Based Epidemiology is still in its infancy, Lakehaven is pleased to be a part of these early efforts. With greater understanding, the information gained can help better inform and protect our local communities.