CvEEN Faculty Leading Efforts on COVID-19 Research in Waste Water

Researchers across the world are working on new projects to help learn more about the COVID-19 virus, including many researchers at the University of Utah. Dr. Jennifer Weidhaas, associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is working with a team of researchers from Utah State University, University of Utah and Brigham Young University to cover different areas of the Beehive State’s water treatment plants.

In knowing how other pathogens appear in the waste water, Dr. Weidhaas knew that there was a need to test the wastewater for COVID-19. She reached out to the State of Utah to see if anyone was looking at this unique perspective of the virus. No one was, so she partnered with the state to start her research.

Dr. Weidhaas is starting pilot testing to determine the correlation between COVID in the waste water and the number of cases found in certain areas. So far, the research has shown a correlation between the levels found in the waste water and the number of cases in certain areas. This data is being reported back to the department of health to provide modeling data.