Public health and clean water go hand-in-hand, especially in today's COVID crisis. Clean Water Services (CWS) is tracking signs of COVID-19 in Washington County’s wastewater, and throughout the pandemic has been collaborating on research projects to help public health officials detect the presence and scope of the virus in other communities.
Using new analytical techniques, researchers are able to find evidence of the virus in wastewater at the neighborhood scale, which could provide an early warning sign of the virus in a community.
Wastewater treatment is one of the most significant public health advancements in history and protection of public health remains at the heart of what we do. "It's important to support our community," said Research and Innovation Director, Dr. Ken Williamson. "We are hopeful this research will assist public health officials stem the tide of COVID-19 and be another tool for community monitoring."
CWS has collaborated on the following projects:
The analytical techniques used in the studies allow researchers to look for trace amounts of the virus in wastewater. To date, the scientific community has found no evidence of viable COVID-19 virus in wastewater.
Everything we do at Clean Water Services aims to protect public health, while enhancing the natural environment of the Tualatin River Watershed. Combining science and nature, we work in partnership with others to safeguard the river's health and vitality, ensure the economic success of our region, and protect public health for more than 600,000 residents and businesses in urban Washington County. Although Clean Water Services maintains a close working relationship with Washington County government, it is separately managed and financed.
News Coverage & Presentations
OPB – Tracing The Coronavirus Through Sewer Pipes In Oregon
Politico – Poop could help stop the pandemic. Really.
KGW – The proof is in the poo: What your sewage can tell you about coronavirus hot spots
KPTV – Human poop helping scientists study, track COVID-19
KTVZ – OSU expands COVID-19 prevalence study to Bend; also will analyze wastewater
Water Research Foundation – Virtual Congressional Briefing on Sewer Surveillance of COVID-19
Westside Economic Alliance – Presentation on Sewage Monitoring to Track COVID-19
Chief of Staff
Clean Water Services