Mireia Mollá, Source: Generalitat Valenciana

Wastewater treatment and COVID detection have something in common

Wastewater treatment and COVID detection have something in common

An agreement between the Valencian Government and the University of Valencia concerns the application of 2 related projects

Mireia Mollá, the Valencian Minister of Ecological Transition, attended the Tuesday (27 October) presentation of reports concerning the evolution of two projects which are the product of a collaboration between the regional authorities and the University of Valencia. The meeting was a follow-up to the earlier collaboration agreement in the framework of two distinct yet related projects. One concerns the development of surveillance methodology in the detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in urban wastewaters and the other is about the study of the application of circular economy principles to the design of water treatment plants.

Two projects dealing with two of the biggest contemporary challenges

The research projects count with a budget contribution of 50 000 euros from the Government of the Valencian Autonomous Community this year.

While prevention and restrictive measures are important, the large scale testing of populations is still difficult, costly and time-consuming which is why the authorities have placed their hope and resources towards the development of instruments, such as wastewater testing as an effective monitoring method for the future.

The university researchers take three weekly samples from three different treatment stations, which serve an area of 1 million inhabitants. Then they apply the PCR detection tests to the genetic material.

“The objective is to have a system with homogeneous indicators that, according to the indicators of wastewater, tell us that an area, a municipality or a specific neighbourhood are seeing more positive cases and allow us to activate an action protocol prepared together with the Health Department,” explained Minister Mollá.

Apart from converting the treatment plants into sanitary control centres, she pointed out the need for the transformation of these facilities to face the realities of the other major crisis of our times – that of climate change.

This is especially poignant in a region such as Valencia, which tends to be vulnerable to long periods of drought and then to ever more frequent instances of torrential storms. To that end, the report has emphasized the need to transform the treatment stations into infrastructure that can adapt to water flow changes and other climate and demographic forecasts.



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