For immediate release
Contact: Julie Liew

ST. PAUL— The Minnesota Environmental Science and Economic Review Board (MESERB), a municipal joint powers organization with more than 50 member cities, sanitary districts and public utilities commissions that own and operate wastewater treatment facilities in Greater Minnesota, is proud to assist and support researchers from the University of Minnesota as they study the prevalence of COVID-19 in wastewater.

The initiative, led by Dr. Glenn Simmons Jr. and Dr. Richard Melvin of the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the U of M Medical School’s Duluth campus, will test samples provided by wastewater facilities for COVID-19. The research may shed light on the prevalence and spread of the virus in communities and regions across Minnesota.

“As wastewater professionals, we have the technology, training and expertise to assist with this study,” said Andy Bradshaw, who serves as MESERB’s president in addition to his role as Wastewater/Stormwater Services Operations Manager for the City of Moorhead. “Our operators know how to handle wastewater materials and can provide the influent samples necessary to provide the University with important information about the presence of COVID-19 in our communities.”

Wastewater samples are expected to be collected and tested over the next several months. Information gleaned from the study will be shared with the Minnesota Department of Health and the broader scientific community to assist health care professionals and government leaders as they develop testing and mitigation strategies in the ongoing fight against the disease.

Bradshaw noted he is glad that MESERB members and other wastewater facilities can play a role in helping the U of M researchers gather data to aid in developing a better understanding of COVID-19.

“Our wastewater facilities serve thousands of Minnesotans every day, all of whom are affected by this crisis,” Bradshaw said. “We want to do our part to ensure that the information necessary to combat this virus is brought to light.”