News Briefs: CDC Sees Limited Participation in National Wastewater Surveillance System

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finds water filters were effective at removing lead from drinking water in Benton Harbor, Michigan

After Bloomburg reported recently that one third of the Centers for Disease Control’s wastewater sample sites showed a rise in COVID-19 cases, the agency confirmed that it has seen a rise in the detection of the disease in early March sampling.

“While wastewater levels are generally very low across the board, we are seeing an uptick of sites reporting an increase,” Amy Kirby, who heads the CDC’s wastewater monitoring program, told NBC News. “These bumps may simply reflect minor increase from very low levels to still low levels.”

In related news, despite federal officials’ intent to create a comprehensive early warning system for COVID-19 in the National Wastewater Surveillance System, it is seeing limited participation among states.

Only a dozen states are submitting data regularly to NWSS, and those include California, Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin, according to Politico. The information coming from those participating states is fairly thin, as well. For instance, most of California’s collection sites are located in the Bay Area.

EPA Finds Water Filters Effective at Removing Lead in Benton Harbor

 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently released the results from a water filter study conducted in Benton Harbor, Michigan. After analyzing water samples from about 200 homes, results show that when used properly, filters are effective at reducing lead in drinking water.

“No family should ever have to worry about the quality of water coming from their tap and the Benton Harbor community is no exception,” says EPA Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore. “The information collected in Benton Harbor expands our existing knowledge that filters are effective at removing lead, affirming our confidence in their use nationwide. However, using a water filter addresses the symptom and not the cause of the problem, which is why EPA is committed to President Biden’s goal of removing 100% of lead pipes, the primary source of lead in drinking water across the country.”

During November and December 2021, EPA scientists tested unfiltered and filtered water at about 200 locations in Benton Harbor. The EPA determined that when installed, maintained and used properly, filters are effective at reducing lead in drinking water. However, the agency found residents need better information to install and operate filters properly. The EPA plans to support the state of Michigan and local governments to disseminate information about the safe and effective use of filters.

Xylem to Move Global Headquarters to Washington, D.C.

Global water technology company Xylem has announced that it will move its headquarters to Washington, D.C.

“Washington, D.C. is an important global crossroads for the diverse set of stakeholders who work together towards solving water challenges around the world,” says Patrick Decker, president and CEO of Xylem. “As a leading global water innovator, we know that the biggest water issues can only be addressed through collaboration. By locating our global headquarters here, we place ourselves right where the water sector is most engaged.”

Xylem’s new headquarters will be co-located with the recently announced Reservoir Center for Water Solutions, a hub for multi-party, water-focused stakeholder collaboration, in the historic Navy Yard district along the Anacostia River. The center is anticipated to open in June.


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