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Biological Purification

Wastewater Monitoring 

Wastewater monitoring helps detect viruses shed in infected persons' feces. Viral information appears in wastewater shortly after infection, often before symptoms manifest. We collect wastewater samples using state-approved methods, analyze them for viruses, and share the data with health departments. This monitoring provides a community-wide sample to complement clinical data, offering insights into viral levels even where clinical testing is limited.


What are we looking for?

We sample at 19 sites across Muskegon and Ottawa counties.  Wastewater monitoring for our team began in 2020 to track SARS-CoV-2 virus levels in wastewater. This has since expanded to include other pathogens of interest. We currently monitor SARS-CoV-2, norovirus, and RSV. 


COVID-19 is a disease caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-2. Our lab has monitored for COVID-19 since 2020, working with other State of Michigan laboratories and partnering with national and international institutions. COVID-19 can cause severe respiratory symptoms, and spreads easily and quickly. This monitoring assists in guidance for public health action.


RSV is a disease caused by a virus named Respiratory Syncytial Virus. This virus mainly causes cold-like symptoms, but severe RSV can be dangerous for very young children and adults 60 years and older. We expanded our monitoring to include RSV in 2023, and monitoring of these levels can guide public health decisions on communication of best practices. 


Norovirus is the most common foodborne illness in the United States. It is easily spread, and there are many different types of noroviruses. Wastewater monitoring can detect increased levels of norovirus in the community, allowing for informed decisions by public health groups to protect community health.

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