Watcher in the Wastewater
Scientists say monitoring of urban wastewater could improve surveillance systems for detecting COVID-19 and other pathogens —disease-causing bacteria, viruses or other microorganisms. Various studies around the world are showing that genetic traces of the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen in wastewater indicate trends in the spread of COVID-19. Among those carrying out significant wastewater monitoring projects is Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden and his research team at ASU’s Center for Environmental Health Engineering. The team is leading a wastewater surveillance program for the city of Tempe. Halden says the monitoring can’t reveal precise numbers of infected individuals within a specific geographical area, but can provide general assessments of whether disease rates in particular areas are falling or rising.