SVSU Testing for COVID-19 in Wastewater, Wildlife Drive Opens Early

For Friday, May 8, 2020

1 – Researchers at Saginaw Valley State University are looking at wastewater to study the spread of the coronavirus. 

Chemistry professor Tami Sivy and her students are adapting current freshwater contamination testing methods to test for the virus in wastewater. 

The aim is to identify virus hot spots before they can be detected by other testing methods. 

svsu wastewater coronavirus covid-19
Student Caleb Whittaker conducts wastewater sample research in SVSU laboratories. Credit: Tim Inman, SVSU

University officials say this approach can detect viral material that came from people with and without symptoms. 

Researchers say the virus is excreted in human waste, so they are collecting human wastewater samples from various wastewater treatment plants in the Saginaw Bay watershed. 

The professor says the samples that SVSU receives should pose no risk, but researchers are still taking extra precautions, using extensive protective gear and safety equipment. 

SVSU says wastewater testing has proven to be successful in other parts of the country, including Somerset, Massachusetts. There, 400 COVID-19 cases were reported through human testing, while wastewater testing determined that several thousand people were actually infected. 


2 – A scenic automobile route has opened early this year at Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge in Saginaw County. 

The 6.5-mile Wildlife Drive was able to open May 1 instead of June 1 this year because of an unoccupied eagle’s nest along the route. 

Officials say it’s not uncommon for bald eagles to have multiple nests within a breeding territory.  

The bald eagle pair is currently using a new nest on the southern edge of a marsh at the refuge.  

The refuge monitors nesting sites and will make future changes to Wildlife Drive opening dates as necessary to protect bald eagles as required under federal law

Wildlife Drive is open daily from sunrise to one hour before sunset. The entrance is at 6000 Bishop Road in Spaulding Township.

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard Friday mornings in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR (now streaming). Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes




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