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CDPHE designated as a National Wastewater Surveillance System Center of Excellence

STATEWIDE (August 8, 2022) — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), in collaboration with the University of Denver (DU), received the prestigious designation as a National Wastewater Surveillance System (NWSS) Center of Excellence (CoE). CDPHE is one of only two honorees the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention selected for this designation.

The University of Denver, recognized as a leader in wastewater surveillance, set up wastewater monitoring for SARS-CoV-2 in each of its dormitories and their isolation dorms in September 2020. DU’s innovative monitoring allowed them to predict community case trends based on signals found in wastewater.

As a NWSS Center of Excellence, CDPHE and DU will serve as subject matter experts to provide training, consultation, and resources to other public health entities interested in starting their own wastewater monitoring programs. The CDPHE state lab will collaborate with CDC to develop ways to test for other pathogens in wastewater samples. We will work closely with the other honoree, the Houston NWSS Center of Excellence, to develop trainings and model practice documents, evaluate and improve our data analytics, and enhance the utility of wastewater data.

“It is an honor to be recognized for the work our team has invested in wastewater monitoring. Wastewater data, when evaluated in combination with other measures of disease burden, has proven to be a valuable public health surveillance tool during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Allison Wheeler, Waterborne Disease Unit Manager and Co-Director of the NWSS CoE, CDPHE. “This work would not be possible without the contribution of our wastewater utilities and local public health partners, and we thank them for their commitment to improving public health in Colorado. We look forward to the partnership with our University of Denver colleagues and other academic partners in expanding our wastewater knowledge and sharing our experiences with other public health agencies and groups who may benefit from wastewater monitoring.”

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“It is both humbling and inspiring to have the hard work of our team recognized,” says Corinne Lengsfeld, Senior Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Education and Co-Director of the NWSS CoE, who led the wastewater monitoring efforts at the University of Denver. “The partnership between DU and CDPHE allowed for continuous innovation to provide a targeted response. As COVID-19 variants changed, we adapted techniques in real time. This collaboration provides a foundation of innovation to meet future needs by embracing the missions of both organizations to serve the public good through technological advancements, training, and partnership building.”

Since August of 2020, CDPHE has worked with Colorado wastewater utilities to monitor COVID-19 in wastewater. Wastewater surveillance allows public health officials to identify the presence of a virus in a community before receiving results from clinical testing. This method helps estimate disease trends within a community because it can capture data on people who are asymptomatic or may not get testing. At this time, the state’s wastewater program includes 55 participating utilities and we continue to onboard additional utilities throughout the state.

Continue to stay up to date by visiting covid19.colorado.gov.

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The CDPHE has been designated “Center of Excellence of the National Wastewater Monitoring System”

COLORADO (August 8, 2022) — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), in collaboration with the University of Denver (DU), was awarded the prestigious designation of “National Wastewater Monitoring System (NWSS) Center of Excellence in English)”. The CDPHE is one of two entities awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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The University of Denver, recognized as a leader in wastewater monitoring, established in September 2020 a SARS-CoV-2 monitoring program in each of its residence halls and isolation dorms. This innovative program allowed the University of Denver to forecast COVID-19 case trends in the student community based on what was found in dorm wastewater.

As the NWSS Center of Excellence, CDPHE and DU will serve as subject matter experts to provide training, consultation, and resources to other public health entities interested in starting their own wastewater monitoring programs. CDPHE’s state laboratory will collaborate with CDC to develop testing techniques for other pathogens in wastewater samples. In addition, we will cooperate closely with the other awardee, the Houston Center of Excellence, to develop training programs, refine the production of relevant documents, evaluate and improve our data analysis program, and enhance the usefulness of the information obtained. around sewage.

Allison Wheeler (CDPHE), Manager of the Waterborne Diseases Unit and Co-Director of our Center of Excellence stated, “It is an honor to be recognized for the work our team has done around wastewater monitoring. The data collected there, in combination with other parameters related to the presence of the disease, have acted as a valuable public health surveillance tool during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our work would not be possible without the contribution of local wastewater utilities and public health partners. We express our gratitude to them for their commitment to promoting public health in Colorado. It is our hope that our collaboration with colleagues at the University of Denver and other academic partners will serve to further our understanding of wastewater as we share the results of our experience with this project with other public health agencies and entities, which may benefit from wastewater monitoring.

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Corinne Lengsfeld, Senior Vice Chancellor for Graduate Research and Training and Co-Director of the Center of Excellence, who was in charge of wastewater monitoring at the University of Denver, said, “Having the hard work of our team recognized gratifies and encourages us. motivates. The partnership between the DU and the CDPHE made possible the implementation of continuous innovations to provide a concrete response to the pandemic. As new variants of COVID-19 emerged, we were able to adapt the techniques used in real time. This collaboration establishes an innovation strategy to meet future needs that encompasses the objectives of both organizations: to work at the service of the common good through technological advances, as well as training and the creation of institutional links”.

Since August 2020, CDPHE has worked in conjunction with Colorado Wastewater Services to monitor for COVID-19 in those waters. This program allows public health officials to identify the presence of a virus in a community before clinical test results are received. This method helps to estimate the evolution of the disease within a community since it collects information on people who do not have symptoms of the disease or who are not undergoing screening tests. Currently, 55 utility companies participate in the state program; for its part, the CDPHE continues to incorporate more businesses throughout Colorado.

Please continue to stay informed by visiting covid19.colorado.gov.

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