The University of Minnesota Duluth Medical School is launching a study to track the prevalence of COVID-19 by monitoring at wastewater facilities across the state. Recent studies in the Netherlands have shown that COVID-19 can be detected in wastewater. To continue battling the disease, it is important to have accurate measurements of how treatment and mitigation strategies are working. The UMD team believes that monitoring pre-treated wastewater in various communities across the state could be an effective way to survey the prevalence of the disease.

The professors conducting this research are looking for regional water facilities throughout the state who are willing to participate in the study. The sampling would occur on wastewater influent – that is the water before it goes through treatment with any large samples removed. They would like to begin sampling soon so that they can establish a baseline and then continue for several months. This type of study could be an important tool in assessing how local and state efforts are working to address this pandemic and future challenges.

If your wastewater facility is willing to participate, please contact the study authors, Dr. Richard Melvin at or Dr. Glenn E. Simmons at or 218-726-8386.