Research has shown that humans shed the virus causing COVID-19 (the SARS-CoV-2 virus) in their stool when infected individuals use the bathroom. The Erie County Department of Health and the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning – Division of Sewerage Management organized a partnership with local sewer service providers and the University at Buffalo to test wastewater for the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This wastewater testing allows for a relationship regarding the relative prevalence of COVID-19 within a geographic area to be developed based on the concentration of the virus fragments in the samples. The Department of Health can utilize this information in conjunction with other data and metrics to assist in understanding COVID-19 impacts in our community.
The Erie County Department of Environment and Planning – Division of Sewerage Management has developed a story map to explain this project and a customized data dashboard to present these results. Please visit http://erie.gov/covid19-wastewater/ to access this information.
- Buffalo News Article - How Scientists are testing for COVID in the bowels of Erie County
- WIVB Article - Erie County has been COVID Testing sewage for 9 months
- WKBW Article - Erie County Testing wastewater for COVID-19
- Spectrum Article - Erie County, UB testing wastewater to track COVID-19
- Audacy Article - Erie County using sewers to detect COVID-19 spread in community
- WGRZ Article - Pilot Program to test wastewater for COVID pleases health officials