Michigan: EGLE awards nearly $10 million in COVID-19 wastewater surveillance grants and equipment

Nov. 23, 2020
EGLE Media Office, EGLE-Assist@Michigan.gov, 517-284-9278

Funding and lab equipment will support 20 local pilot projects

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) today announced that $6,539,138 in grant funding and an additional $3,087,431 in laboratory equipment has been awarded to 20 recipients across the state to support a three-month pilot program to test for the COVID-19 virus in wastewater. These pilot programs are being run by a network of 29 local health departments, 18 laboratories, and 125 university, municipal and other partners across Michigan.

Launched in October, the three-month pilot program supports local public health department efforts to coordinate with counties, universities, and other institutions across the state on COVID-19 wastewater testing programs. Local health departments are a crucial part of the pilot project as they will provide local interpretation and drive local mitigation efforts based on the reported results. These local efforts have the potential to be an early warning system for the spread of COVID-19 within a specific community or for coronavirus outbreaks on college campuses and at other densely populated facilities.

EGLE has also launched a webpage providing an overview of the COVID-19 wastewater surveillance pilot project. The page will also include sampling locations and testing data once it becomes available.

Funded from Michigan's allocation of federal money under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), the $10 million grant program targeted existing COVID-19 wastewater surveillance programs in the state to quickly establish a standardized and coordinated network of monitoring systems.

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EGLE made the following 20 grants and equipment donations:
  • $1,326,694 to Michigan State University to train and assist labs with analytical methods
  • $800,000 to Michigan State University to collect and analyze samples
  • $493,605 to Hope College
  • $404,151 to the Macomb Interceptor Drain Drainage District
  • $390,660 to Oakland University
  • $344,960 to Saginaw Valley State University
  • $352,721 to the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department to monitor sites with samples analyzed by Michigan Technological University
  • $291,594 to Ferris State University for the Shimadzu Core Laboratory to monitor sites
  • $318,017 to Grand Valley State University for the Annis Water Resources Institute to monitor sites
  • $263,809 to Wayne State University to monitor WSU dorms and Midtown Detroit
  • $202,645 to the Regents of the University of Michigan to monitor wastewater treatment plants
  • $180,000 to the Regents of the University of Michigan to monitor additional sites.
  • $307,387 to the Health Department of Northwest Michigan for the Northern Michigan Regional Lab to monitor sites
  • $171,708 to the City of Traverse City
  • $151,929 to White Water Associates, Inc. in partnership with the Iron-Dickinson and Delta-Menominee Health Departments
  • $111,708 to Central Michigan University
  • $110,092 to Kent County Health Department
  • $106,870 to Oakland County Health Division
  • $118,000 to Lake Superior State University
  • $92,588 awarded to Northern Michigan University

During the three-month pilot project, EGLE will coordinate sample collection, lab analysis, data reporting and communication with the local monitoring teams across Michigan. MDHHS will provide project support to participating local health departments, including how to integrate local wastewater data with other types of COVID-19 surveillance and public health responses.

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The following 29 local public health departments are participating:
  • Allegan County Health Department
  • Bay County Health Department
  • Central Michigan District Health Department
  • Chippewa County Health Department
  • Detroit Health Department
  • Dickinson-Iron District Health Department
  • District Health Department No. 10
  • District Health Department No. 2
  • Genesee County Health Department
  • Grand Traverse County Health Department
  • Health Department of Northwest Michigan
  • Huron County Health Department
  • Ingham County Health Department
  • Kent County Health Department
  • Lapeer County Health Department
  • Livingston County Health Department
  • Macomb County Health Department
  • Marquette County Health Department
  • Midland County Health Department
  • Mid-Michigan District Health Department
  • Oakland County Health Division
  • Ottawa County Department of Public Health
  • Public Health - Muskegon County
  • Public Health, Delta & Menominee Counties
  • Saginaw County Health Department
  • St. Clair County Health Department
  • Washtenaw County Department of Public Health
  • Wayne County Dept of Health, Human & Veterans Services
  • Western Upper Peninsula Health Department

Testing wastewater for viruses, such as the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, can be an effective tool for monitoring transmission of COVID-19 within a local community or at individual facilities. The virus is shed in human waste, including people who are not ill or have not yet become ill. The virus can then be detected by testing samples taken from sewers and wastewater treatment plants, with results often being available earlier than human clinical samples. These results can then inform local public health actions to prevent further spread within that community.


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