Lakeshore testing wastewater for COVID-19

Town of Lakeshore logo. Photo provided by Town of Lakeshore.

The Town of Lakeshore is joining the city of Windsor in testing its wastewater for signs of the coronavirus.

Lakeshore is participating in an initiative to test untreated wastewater for evidence of COVID-19, which has shown in the past to be an indicator of community cases being on the upswing.

Weekly samples are being taken at the Denis St. Pierre Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is operated by the Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA). The samples are then sent to the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research (GLIER) at the University of Windsor for analysis.

Previous studies have shown that COVID-19 can be found in untreated wastewater and raw sewage. Testing only takes place in the untreated portion of the treatment plant, as the coronavirus is absent in treated and disinfected wastewater.

The genetic signal for the virus does not identify its physical properties, only that it is present, according to a media release from the town of Lakeshore.

GLIER is analyzing wastewater samples in conjunction with S.M. Research Inc., an Ontario biomedical research firm.

The project is performed with the support of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.