The Public Health Commission (BPHC) of Boston, MA recently launched a Covid-19 wastewater surveillance program. BPHC is working with the Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC), and Biobot Analytics – a wastewater epidemiology company which aims to transform the wastewater infrastructure into public health observatories.
The program will take samples from 11 manholes across the city in order to localize estimates of the circulating virus and its variants. The sampling locations were chosen as they provide broad coverage of Boston’s communities and also optimize ease of access to the manholes in areas with high population densities. BPHC expects that this data will provide them with a detailed understanding of how Covid-19 is affecting different neighborhoods, and enable them to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic with more precise interventions for communities with high or rising levels of virus.
“This exciting new wastewater surveillance programme will enhance our ability to respond to the many ongoing challenges presented by Covid-19,” said Dr Bisola Ojikutu, commissioner of public health and executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission. “We recognise that Covid-19 continues to have a disproportionate impact within communities throughout Boston. Our goal is to use these data to inform our strategies and ensure equity in our responses.”
The wastewater sampling will take place twice a week and the data will be updated and publicly posted to help keep the public informed about the Covid-19 risk levels in their communities.
“Boston is a true trailblazer for investing today into the public health infrastructure of tomorrow,” said Mariana Matus, CEO and co-founder of Biobot Analytics. “The launch of these new wastewater testing sites will create granular data that is more actionable for local officials and will help with the planning of resource allocation and interventions and increase public awareness.”