News Briefs: Two Workers Found Dead in Nebraska Pump House

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, the University of Arizona prevents a potentially massive COVID-19 outbreak thanks to wastewater testing

The Associated Press recently reported that two employees of the city of McCook, Nebraska, were found dead within the sludge pump house of the city’s wastewater treatment facility.

The bodies of the two men, identified as Larry Dicke,65, and Kenneth Keslin, 45, were found during a welfare check by police after being reported missing.

A hazmat team was tasked with retrieving the bodies due to toxic gases within the structure, although an official cause of death hasn’t been released as of Sept. 16.

Treatment Plant Employee Injured After Fall Into Water Tank

In another sobering reminder of the importance of safety while working in treatment plant operations, WLUK News reports a worker suffered injuries after falling into a water tank at a wastewater treatment facility in Freedom, Wisconsin.

First responders say he had been doing maintenance work in the empty tank when he fell, and that the injuries sustained were not life threatening. He was found conscious and breathing.

University of Arizona Prevents Massive COVID-19 Outbreak Thanks to Wastewater Testing

In other news, The Denver Channel recently published a feature story about how the University of Arizona’s wastewater testing program prevented a massive COVID-19 outbreak at the college.

At one point in the story, 30-year virology veteran Kellog Schwab, director of the Water Institute at Johns Hopkins University, talks to the news organization about the complex process of testing wastewater for COVID-19.

“It is not straight forward,” he tells The Denver Channel. “There are a lot of interfering substances as you can imagine in a waste stream that you have to then purify the virus from. It’s not just you grab a sample from a particular part of the environment and then instantly be able to detect the virus. You need to process that sample, you need to maintain the integrity of your target of interest, and then you have to have the appropriate detection.”

Click here for the story.


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