CUSTOMER SUCCESS STORY

South Platte Water Renew – Colorado

“Wastewater epidemiology is one key piece of the puzzle for decision makers”
Blair Corning, Deputy Director of Environmental Programs, South Platte Renew.

Partners in Collaboration & Innovation

Just a few days into the pandemic, Pieter Van Ry happened to see a story about Biobot Analytics’ COVID-19 work, which focuses on detecting and quantifying indicators of COVID-19 in sewage samples.

Van Ry, the Director of South Platte Renew (SPR) in Colorado, immediately saw the value of wastewater analytics. “It was an effort to determine if there was a way that we could gain more information or have another tool early on in the pandemic to help the community – to be able to use new information to make more informed decisions, guide policy, guide direction, and guide resources,” said Van Ry.

In the communities his wastewater authority serves, including Littleton and Englewood, COVID-19 had hit hard. In the largely residential community, restaurants were closing, while schools and businesses were scrambling to adapt to remote methods.

Van Ry contacted Biobot Analytics and joined its pro-bono campaign about two weeks into the official start of the pandemic.

“I don’t know that they would have thought to include [wastewater] in any kind of emergency management update – now there’s a specific thing tied back,”
Van Ry shared

Partners in Collaboration & Innovation

As one of the initial participants in Biobot Analytics’ COVID-19 work, SPR was able to innovate in tandem with Biobot. As the pandemic progressed, the interaction and communication between SPRWP and Biobot steadily increased.

Now the team uses data and graphs provided by Biobot Analytics to inform their community.

“I don’t know that they would have thought to include [wastewater] in any kind of emergency management update – now there’s a specific thing tied back to wastewater treatment that informs the emergency response,”
Van Ry shared

Community leaders in the area now anticipate regular updates on wastewater analytics and what the latest information means for their community.

Resource recovery, the process of sustainably using wastes as an input material to create valuable products as new outputs, has been a big priority for SPWRP in recent years. Using wastewater samples to understand the spread of COVID-19 in their community was yet another way to use an existing resource for the benefit of the community.

Utility of the Future

“In our role, we do the fundamental service of cleaning up wastewater, and at the same time provide experts access into that data to be able to find better ways to respond to health crises,” said Van Ry.

As a result of its partnership with Biobot Analytics, South Platte Renew has forged direct links with local decision makers that did not exist before.

“I don’t know that they would have thought to include [wastewater] in any kind of emergency management update – now there’s a specific thing tied back to wastewater treatment that informs the emergency response,” Van Ry shared.

The team at South Platte Renew sees the long-term benefits of wastewater epidemiology and expect this work to extend beyond COVID-19, using this tool as a utility of the future for other public health issues.

“I don’t know that they would have thought to include [wastewater] in any kind of emergency management update – now there’s a specific thing tied back,”
Van Ry shared