On November 12, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced a statewide initiative to sample wastewater as an early warning system of COVID-19 outbreaks in vulnerable Maryland communities. The Sewer Sentinel Initiative, led by the Maryland Department of the Environment in close coordination with the state’s Department of Health, will fund testing to understand community transmission in certain areas so the state can focus prevention and testing efforts where they are most urgently needed.
This summer, Maryland obtained information during a pilot program from wastewater from five locations across the state that showed the potential of such monitoring. Sampling under the new phase of the initiative is expected to begin within a month.
Many agencies across the United States and abroad have worked to conduct research on wastewater-based epidemiology to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in community water systems. ECOS’ research subsidiary, the Environmental Research Institute of the States, published an issue brief yesterday along with the Association of State & Territorial Health Officials.