The Muncie Sanitary District and other municipalities in Indiana are participating in a special project to investigate the use of COVID-19 RNA testing in wastewaters as a potential early indicator of coronavirus outbreaks. This project is focused specifically on communities with universities having more than 1,000 students living on campus.
The Muncie Bureau of Water Quality will be collecting samples three times per week for 10 to 11 weeks from utility holes around the Ball State campus. Samples will also be collected at the MSD’s wastewater treatment facility. Infectious disease experts will then assist in interpreting the results to look for spikes in COVID-19 RNA as an early indicator of an outbreak of COVID-19 within Muncie.
The hope is that this may increase local reaction time by giving as much as one week of warning before symptomatic individuals begin to appear. If test results indicate evidence of a potential spike in samples from Ball State University, the Muncie Sanitary District will notify Ball State officials immediately.