How wastewater is helping South Africa fight COVID-19
Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden has been advancing methods for wastewater testing for two decades. What he and others in the field have discovered over those years is today making analysis of the contents of wastewater a significant part of efforts to detect and defend against threats to human health in communities and even entire countries. The techniques have been used to gather data that has helped public health officials provide timely warnings about outbreaks of COVID-19 and plan effective responses to the potential danger. Halden says such testing of wastewater treatment plants enables keeping an eye on the habits, activities and health conditions of large swaths of the population. While this ability provides definite benefits, Halden says precautions are needed to ensure information gleaned from the testing is used strictly in the best interests of the public.
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The city of Tempe has won an award for its wastewater science program, developed through a partnership with ASU ‘s Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering, which is directed by Professor Rolf Halden.