Macomb County to have sewer water tested to trace coronavirus in communities

Sewer system tests are a dirty job, but it just might help stop a second wave of COVID-19 in Macomb County before it starts. 

"If we are able to show a particular neighborhood that COVID-19 is present," said Candice Miller. "Sometimes we can find it a couple weeks before people are even having any symptoms."

Miller, the Macomb County commissioner, is talking about a brand new pilot program to test waste collected in the county's sewer system in an attempt to trace the coronavirus. 

"You could be shedding virus and it's going down your toilet, it is going into the sewers - even though you might not present with symptoms," Miller said.
Twice a week samples will be taken in various neighborhoods, starting in Clinton Township. That means entering the system via manholes, collecting samples and sending them off to labs at Oakland University and Michigan State University. 

Samples will be collected at the end of June. The county will post the results as they get them online so the public can see for themselves where the hotspots are in their community. 

Miller says the results can also help the county health department with contract tracing. This is all being funded through a $1 million grant from the CARES Act - money devoted to fighting the current pandemic.