Local wastewater being tested for Covid-19

Published: 20 August 2021

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Ashburton District Council will today begin collecting regular samples of its wastewater to be tested for Covid-19.

Councillors said this week they were interested in joining other local authorities to test their wastewater, which would indicate if the virus – especially the highly transmissible Delta variant – was present in the Ashburton network.

Samples will be collected from the Wilkins Road treatment plant and sent to the Institute of Environmental Science and Research for analysis.

Ashburton District Mayor Neil Brown said the testing would provide some assurance of potential infection in the community. Although the sensitivity of wastewater testing is not absolutely clear, it provides a tool in the kit to detect Covid-19.

“We expect to have the results this time next week. At this stage, it is just the Ashburton town wastewater scheme, but smaller strategic schemes could be included.”

The Ministry of Health is currently testing wastewater from at least 27 other councils for covid.

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