News Briefs: Michigan Operators Ask to Stop Testing Wastewater During Outbreak

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, wastewater testing in New Castle County in Delaware has discovered 15 times more COVID-19 cases than are currently confirmed positive cases

Some wastewater treatment plant operators in Michigan are concerned about potential exposure to COVID-19 and are asking state regulators to relax some of the routine testing mandates during the pandemic.

The Elk Rapids Department of Public Works has asked the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy for permission to suspend wastewater sample testing at the facility.

The plant’s superintendent, Marcus Evans, tells the request has kicked off a discussion about aerosolized virus particles and their potential to infect workers in areas where untreated sewage is in an open-air environment.

New Castle County Tests Wastewater for COVID-19 

CNN reports that scientists around the world are beginning to look at finding hidden pockets of COVID-19 by testing wastewater.

In one such endeavor domestically, Delaware's New Castle County has partnered with a startup called Biobot to test wastewater for the virus, and they’ve found 15 times more COVID-19 cases than confirmed tests.

The startup company and county officials estimate that New Castle has 15,200 cases of the virus found in a catchment area serving about 100,000 individuals.

“I want to emphasize it is an imprecise estimate, but their imprecise estimate is that there are approximately 15 times the number of positive cases as there are confirmed, positive tests,” New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer tells WDEL News.

Beer Being Dumped by Truckload at WWTP in Portland

Somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 gallons of beer have been dumped by the truckload at a wastewater treatment facility in Portland, Oregon.

Apparently, it’s recently expired beer that would have been sold to bars in the city if it weren’t for the COVID-19 outbreak.

The treatment plant’s vice-president tells WTHR News that he wishes he could do something else with all the beer, like “take it to a park and let everybody have a little fun. But, unfortunately, it came here for treatment, so we make sure everything is handled safely.”


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.