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OSU to test wastewater systems for COVID-19

Oregon State University researchers will now analyze wastewater samples from Washington County to spot trends in COVID-19 spread.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Clean Water Services of Washington County announced last month its involvement in a national wastewater testing program aimed at identifying COVID-19 in human waste, conducted by a company called BioBot.

Now Oregon State University is about to start a sewer study of Washington County. This one, funded with a grant from the National Science Foundation, will run for a year.

The new OSU study will follow the sewer system to at least 15 locations, near schools, retirement communities, maybe even hospitals, to get a closer look at COVID-19 trends.

It goes far deeper than the ongoing BioBot study that collects samples from four Clean Water Services treatment plants across the county.

By June, OSU expects to begin testing wastewater samples from the both the city of Corvallis, and Clean Water Services of Washington County

OSU professor Tyler Radniecki is heading the study, with a lot of help from Clean Water Services and others, to help local health agencies narrow their focus when it comes to testing for COVID-19.

Full interview: OSU’s Dr. Tyler Radniecki on testing wastewater samples for COVID-19 in Corvallis and Washington County

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Chris McGinness is a meteorologist and transportation reporter for KGW. Got a story idea or a great photo you want to share? Email him at cmcginness@kgw.com or reach out on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram