City of Detroit, GLWA, MSU partner on virus detection project using sewer system to help predict outbreaks

DETROIT – The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) and Michigan State University (MSU) began a virus research project in November 2017 to determine if viruses can be detected in the city’s sewer collection system. This may be another mechanism for public health agencies, including the Detroit Health Department (DHD), to predict virus outbreaks. The original project was to detect known viruses at the time and now, with funding and technical expertise from the Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA), has evolved to trace the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Detroit has been at the forefront of testing and providing the community resources during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “This project with MSU [launched in 2017] again shows that we have a forward-thinking and collaborative mentality that puts the community first.”