Coronavirus is Proving We Need an Early Warning System to Test Wastewater

Wastewater testing coronavirus
Wastewater testing, or “wastewater quality indicators” are broad descriptions for the various test methodologies to measure water quality.  These tests analyze the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of wastewater.

As countries and individual healthcare organizations work to arrest the spread of Covid-19 and to care for those who are infected, officials in some geographic locations are using wastewater testing as a possible method for identifying levels of Covid-19 in their communities.  The testing goal is to detect evidence of the Covid-19 genetic material, ribonucleic acid (RNA), in fecal matter in sewage and wastewater.

The novel virus, SARS-CoV-2, is the virus that causes Covid-19. It is known to invade the GI (gastrointestinal) track in some patients, and so the virus is extracted in their fecal matter. 

Looking at the amount of viral matter in waste water from a community could uncover the level of Covid-19 spread in the population.  This information can then be a trigger for the required mitigation initiatives and response plans, such as testing individuals, contract tracking, and quarantine. It also allows for information to be gathered on a cross section of the population, allowing for a way to monitor public health solutions for large groups.  

Scientists from around the world are setting up pilot programs to test waste water.  The Netherlands has successfully performed a Covid-19 test for waste water and additional programs are launching in Singapore, Zurich, Lausanne,  Milan, Rome, Australia, and in parts of the US, such as Colorado, Ohio, New York, and Wyoming.  Scientists in these regions have been able to identify the novel Coronavirus at low concentrations in waste water, pointing to an early warning systems for communities.  

In April, 2020, the scientific journal, Nature, listed that over a dozen groups around the globe were doing research analyzing waste water for Covid-19, and that evidence of the virus was already found in the United States, the Netherlands, and Sweden.

Teledyne ISCO is paving the way with use of water samplers in the effort to identify the virus evidence in sewage.   Their automatic sampler readings analyze the characteristics and presence of the Coronavirus in parts per million quantities and can be laid against the population numbers of a geographic area to ascertain the existence and amount of virus existing in the waste water. 

For more information about the use of Teledyne ISCO water samplers for SARS-CoV-2 monitoring in wastewater contact Instrument Specialties, Inc. Call them at 407-324-7800 or visit their website at https://isisales.com.


The MSA ULTIMA® X5000 Gas Monitor

The ULTIMA® X5000 Gas Monitor is the future of gas detection for oxygen, toxic and combustible gases. MSA XCell® gas sensors with TruCal® technology offer calibration cycles up to 18 months (local calibration respected). The gas transmitter's advanced, multi-lingual OLED display is easy to read and the unique touch-screen interface makes it simple to navigate.
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For more information on the ULTIMA® X5000, contact Instrument Specialties, Inc. Call them at 407.324.7800 or visit https://isisales.com.

The Flowserve Valtek FlowTop GS General Service Control Valve


The Valtek FlowTop GS control valve (types V746 and V748) improves the reliability and uptime of production processes while minimizing operating and maintenance costs. Designed for general service applications, the FlowTop GS globe valve is a competitively priced, fully integrated valve-actuator-instrumentation package for continuous process flow loop control throughout the plant.

For more information, and to download a PDF cutsheet, visit this Instrument Specialties webpage.

Teledyne ISCO Samplers on the Front Line in the Battle Against the Corona Virus

Tracking Coronavirus via wastewater

Reading the headlines today, you are seeing more and more municipalities testing their wastewater for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Viruses and bacteria excreted in urine and stool collect in public sewers. The use of sewage pathogen monitoring in wastewater treatment facilities as a public health surveillance tool is now a reality. Environmental microbiologists have studied pathogens in sewage for decades, but now because of COVID-19, public health surveillance efforts focussing on tracking virus levels is at an all time high. It is critical that expanded testing and monitoring continue, as this will certainly help in understanding how the SARS-CoV-2 virus spreads and potentially affects community populations.
Teledyne ISCO Samplers
Teledyne ISCO Samplers

Teledyne ISCO, the leader manufacturer of instruments for water / wastewater sampling and monitoring, is helping in this effort. Teledyne ISCO manufactures a full line of rugged and reliable  portable and refrigerated samplers. Using this equipment as part of their overall Coronavirus strategy, municipalities have at their disposal portable and refrigerated samplers ready for widespread collection and testing. These samplers can be used in any type of environment or testing situation. They are easy to use and program, and have many configuration options.

With so little known about the spread SARS-CoV-2, this approach may be highly important. The data accumulated from an implementation of wide-scale sewerage sampling and testing for Coronavirus can provide the information needed to build dynamic maps of the virus spread, and ultimately, the ability to foresee and prevent flare-ups.

Wastewater Treatment Facilities Provide Possible COVID Tracking for Public Health Surveillance


New studies show that SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, is shed in human feces and is collecting in our city sewers.  If the pandemic continues in waves as the latest estimates believe, wastewater treatment plants could provide early warnings to prevent ICUs and hospitals from being swarmed.

It needs to be mentioned that experts believe, based on previous coronavirus research, that SARS-COVID-2 is effectively removed through traditional water treatment processes. The focus on these public health surveillance efforts track virus levels before treatment.

Environmental microbiologists have studied pathogens in sewage for decades. In 1989, Israel set up a Polio virus sewage surveillance system. The use of sewage pathogen monitoring in wastewater treatment facilities as a public health surveillance tool, however, is a fairly new area of study. 

Biobot, Somerville, MA company who specializes in wastewater epidemiology, is establishing protocols to test sewage for SARS-CoV-2. Biobot analyzes viruses, bacteria, and chemical metabolites that are excreted in urine and stool and that collect in sewers. If the SARS CoV-2 protocol is successful, the data will give communities a dynamic map of the virus as it spreads to new places.

Data from sewage will enable communities to:
  • Measure the scope of the outbreak independent from patient testing or hospital reporting, and include data on asymptomatic individuals,
  • Provide decision support for officials determining the timing and severity of public health interventions to mitigate the overall spread of the disease,
  • Better anticipate likely impact on hospital capacity in order to inform hospital readiness and the necessity of public health interventions,
  • Track the effectiveness of interventions and measure the wind-down period of the outbreak, and
  • Provide an early warning for reemergence of the coronavirus (if it does indeed have a seasonal cycle).
To learn more about their program, visit the Biobot website.

Other useful links about the effort to use wastewater for SARS-CoV-2 tracking:

Measuring Flow in Open Channels: Weirs, Flumes, Rivers & Streams


This video helps you find the best solution to your open channel flow issues. Whether your flow challenge be a flume, weir, river or stream, this presentation by Business Development Manager at Teledyne ISCO, Darrell Kuta, provides expert tips on how to overcome them.

Teledyne ISCO manufactures a wide range of products for professionals working in water pollution monitoring and abatement, engineers and managers involved with wastewater process control. They maintain an outstanding library of educational videos videos here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtcYqTAaloE2TBoEkWeIMTA.

For more information about Teledyne ISCO products in Florida or the Caribbean contact Instrument Specialties by calling 407-324-7800  or visit their website at http://isi.group.