LOGAN, Utah (ABC4 News) – Evidence of a record amount of COVID-19 has been found in wastewater treatment facilities in Tremonton, Brigham City, and Logan. There are more than 5,000 confirmed positive cases under the Bear River Health Department and that number could rise after these findings.
The data comes after the Department of Environmental Quality, in conjunction with local health departments and Utah State University conducted experiments in response to the pandemic and protect public health.
USU’s head of biological engineering, Dr. Keith Roper is working closely with the Department of Environmental Quality, which will provide a summary report to the state’s department of health to go over the data and rise in cases and next steps.
“The wastewater monitoring provides a measure of the prevalence of infection for all the individuals who are infected,” said Roper.
Just a month ago, USU’s wastewater monitoring found over 200 cases in residence hall’s on campus and were able to isolate students to prevent further spread of the virus.
Dr. Roper says studying the wastewater is vital since many individuals with COVID-19 won’t experience symptoms and may not bother getting tested.
This study began as a pilot program of 10 facilities throughout Utah and now is in 44 different treatment plants representing about 80% of the population, according to Roper.