ERG-Supported New Mexico Wastewater Surveillance Program Prevents COVID-19 Outbreak

Technicians collecting/testing wastewater samples

Starting in late 2020, ERG and our sister company, PG Environmental, have been assisting the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) in combating COVID-19 transmission by developing a surveillance program to detect COVID-19 in wastewater from congregate settings, such as shelters and correctional facilities, and using that information to prompt further action, including personal testing. Twice weekly, ERG helps NMED collect and analyze sewage samples at participating facilities. Several weeks into the surveillance program, the virus was detected in a facility’s wastewater, which prompted nasal swab testing of clients and staff and identified an asymptomatic COVID-19 positive person to isolate. The virus was not present in later wastewater samples from the facility, indicating the wastewater detection effort prevented a potential COVID-19 outbreak. See NMED’s press release and Las Cruces Sun News’ article for more details.