Water Sector News

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A COVID-era wastewater monitoring system will now be used to track drug use

Apr 19, 2023

For the past two years, New Castle County has partnered with Biobot to monitor wastewater for signs of COVID-19 to strategically place testing sites and vaccination locations.

“During COVID we saw how, at least early on, the testing was disproportionately used in higher income areas. Higher income, whiter areas were using the testing sites. So nationally, that led to misleading conclusions as to where COVID was,” explained New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer.

He adds that by monitoring waste, the county can get an accurate reading of health data without it being able to be traced back to an individual.

Using the same technology, wastewater will now be monitored for fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine, nicotine, and their metabolites.

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