COVID-19 testing in wastewater plants has been expanded to Tailem Bend and Naracoorte.
While clinical tests remain the gold standard for detection, water monitoring allows SA Health to pick up cases that may have otherwise slipped through the cracks.
The Department for Health and Wellbeing’s Principal Water Quality Advisor, Dr David Cunliffe, said the state’s surveillance program was reinforced by similar testing near the borders of New South Wales and Victoria.
“One benefit of this surveillance program is that we can share our results between states and make adjustments to our testing as the pandemic evolves,” Dr Cunliffe said.
In addition to Naracoorte and Tailem Bend, wastewater sampling is occurring at SA Water wastewater treatment plants at Bolivar, Glenelg, Christies Beach, Angaston, Lobethal and Mount Gambier.
SA Water’s Senior Manager of Water Expertise and Research, Dr Daniel Hoefel, said results so far have been encouraging.
“Our scientists continue to keep a close eye on the state’s sewage and it’s pleasing to see there haven’t been any positive detections of COVID-19 in the past few months by our highly-sensitive testing, instilling further confidence in our understanding of the virus’ presence,” Dr Hoefel said.
Photo of Tailem Bend waste water treatment plant from Google Maps