TEMPE, Ariz. - The City of Tempe's wastewater epidemiology program received $1 million in funding from the Arizona Department of Health Services to continue its expansion.
According to a statement from the city, "This will expand the city’s program and inform state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) national best practices in the field of sewer surveillance for COVID-19."
Since 2018, the City of Tempe and ASU Biodesign Institute has been involved with using wastewater as a tool to observe the community health standards.
In March of 2020 they started to track COVID-19 and wastewater samples.
Deputy City Manager Rosa Inchausti says it helps identify any viruses.
"It's basically looking geographically at the sewer lines in the city and being able to sample out of the sewer lines and identify any pathogens or any viruses that may be a threat to public health."
The city gathers data from the Wastewater Dashboard which collects results from seven collection areas weekly that's posted every Friday.
"We are one of the first cities to do this type of work especially to the extent of what we have been doing hence why we have been able to partner now with the CDC and the State Department of Health," Inchausti said.
With the $1 million grant money, Inchausti says they're able to work with two partners in expanding the program hopefully to a national level.
"It's an honor to be asked to be part of the round table and helping identify solutions that are not just here just for our state expanding perhaps sewer surveillance in our state of Arizona but looking more importantly had to be expand and contribute some great outcomes for our national sewer surveillance."
"This wastewater data, along with COVID-19 percent positive test results, cases per 100,000 people and Tempe Fire Medical Rescue’s EMS COVID-19 suspected calls for service, inform the city’s COVID-19 response. Tempe also monitors vaccination rates for its four zip codes. Residents can see all the data at tempe.gov/indicators," stated city officials.
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