McMaster is among the first Canadian universities to implement a tracking system on campus to identify coronavirus in raw sewage, which could serve as an early warning sign for any outbreaks and inform future reopening plans.
On Wednesday September 16th, Dr. Zobia Jawed presented to the Environmental Operators Certification Program (EOCP) Virtual Conference for British Columbia and Yukon based water and wastewater operators and management.
She shared McMaster’s vision for collaboration across Ontario and beyond to establish a system-wide approach to tracking community-level coronavirus spread through wastewater analysis. Several BC and Yukon based groups were interested in exploring how they can collaborate with the McMaster-based initiative.
We look forward to seeing more cross-province partnerships in this program.
To see the conference program and other speakers, read more on the 2020 EOCP brochure!
Dr. Krantzberg explains the many benefits of a community-wide test using wastewater, and explains the objectives of the program in the short and long terms.
No matter how many COVID-19 tests are done, current methods suffer from severe limitations. Governments struggle to capture accurate COVID-19 infection rates of asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic individuals, delaying public health responses. Cutting edge global and domestic research confirms that COVID-19 can be reliably detected in the feces of affected individuals including those with mild to no symptoms – an area where clinical tests fall short.
A broad wastewater testing system may be able to constantly test and accurately report on the spread of disease within communities to address a crucial need not only for the current pandemic, but for future outbreaks.
You can read more about our approach to building capacity in Ontario for sustainable wastewater monitoring for COVID-19 in our first newsletter.
As the CWCO initiative takes shape, we are grateful to everyone joining to make this program successful. Today we welcomed a new community to our membership – Haldimand County.
We also added three student researchers to our Student Team page! Over the coming months they will be contributing to different aspects of the program. We look forward to sharing updates on our progress as they help move our research forward!
Welcome Avani, Sasha and Richard!
On July 27, 2020, Gail Krantzberg and Zobia Jawed gave interviews with CBC Radio morning shows across Canada. We hope you were able to hear them on one of the shows listed. The segments were not recorded for future listening, however you can read about the project on CBC.ca on our Friday update.
Gail Krantzberg and Zobia Jawed discuss the objectives of wastewater analysis with CTV News’ Angie Seth
Watch the video clip on the CTV News website.
McMaster University’s Brighter World news page recently published an article outlining the objectives and current progress of the COVID-19 Wastewater Consortium of Ontario.
Researchers at McMaster University are investigating how municipalities across the province could begin to test raw sewage for the coronavirus and quickly identify outbreaks.
The wastewater system of Ontario may provide new insights and a non-invasive approach to detect the community spread of COVID-19, one of the biggest challenges facing public health experts.
There are more than 400 municipal wastewater treatment plants in Ontario and many more non-municipal wastewater plants—all running a unique sewage system—and researchers hope to collaborate with each of them, but the initial plan is to begin with 30 to 40 plants as well as private labs, and will include First Nations communities, villages and remote communities. Their goal is to build a consortium of municipalities, labs and health professionals to develop a strategy that could be applied to every city, township and village.
Today, Dr. Zobia Jawed updated CHCH Morning Live on how this project is moving forward.
You can view the video footage on the CHCH website.