Study will examine whether COVID spread can be tracked through the sewer

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(WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Sewage treatment plants in the Chicago area are taking part in a federal study that asks: Can you track the spread of COVID-19 in communities through sewers?

Researchers will monitor wastewater at several of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District's plants in Chicago and the suburbs for COVID-19.

The district's director of monitoring and research, Ed Podczerwinski, said this week the goal is to see if a rise in the spread of coronavirus in a community can be accurately detected in sewage.

The federal study will begin by testing wastewater from 10 percent of the U.S. population, and there are plans to expand the project to 30 percent.