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Canal de Isabel II develops a large system for monitoring SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater

null Canal de Isabel II develops a large system for monitoring SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater

Canal de Isabel II develops a large system for monitoring SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater

2020-07-28

The Regional Ministries of the Environment, Regional Planning and Sustainability have entrusted these works to the company


  • The company has established close to 300 sampling points, surpassing other similar initiatives in Spain
  • These points are distributed in sewerage networks and treatment plants

  • The data obtained will be transferred to health experts for managing the pandemic in the region


28JUL2020 – The Governing Council of the Autonomous Community of Madrid was informed of the emergency processing of the contract for the sampling and analysis of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater by Canal de Isabel II. The Regional Ministries of the Environment, Regional Planning and Sustainability have entrusted these works to the company that will make it possible to have an early warning system for the virus.

To this end, Canal de Isabel II has established a map of 290 sampling points in sewerage networks and wastewater treatment plants in the region. The initiative surpasses other similar initiatives that have been developed in the country to date, both in terms of the number of sampling points and frequency, as well as the population served, which in this case exceeds 6.5 million inhabitants.

This wastewater analysis system is aimed at early surveillance of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19. The samples will be analysed weekly and the results obtained will be made available to health authorities in a web environment for consultation and management.

Canal de Isabel II’s technical managers have been working in recent weeks to select the sampling points according to suitability criteria, such as their proximity to the area of influence to be sampled or accessibility for carrying out the work.

Furthermore, during the state of alarm, the water quality and R&D&I teams of the public company have studied and standardised a methodology for carrying out this work.

This waste water analysis system will be developed in two phases and has a budget of 3 million euros. The first one, which has now started, will last 3 months and has been divided into two lots with an award amount of 500,000 euros each. The second one will start in the autumn and will last six months. In addition, the company is already working on the equipment and technical training of its analysts to be able to carry out these analyses in its Purified Water Laboratory.

SANITARY CHARACTERISATION OF WASTEWATER

With the development of this initiative, Canal joins other similar studies conducted by other water companies in other cities or regions of the country to try to manage the epidemic early through the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in their wastewater. The work will allow the company to expand its knowledge of the sanitary characterisation of wastewater, which it has been developing since 2003, and to establish a permanent monitoring system.

Canal de Isabel II was founded almost 170 years ago to supply water to the city of Madrid. Today, its more than 2,800 employees provide a service to over 6 million people in the region. It is an innovative, 100% public company, a leader in its sector, and internationally recognised for its management of all phases of the integrated water cycle.

It operates 13 reservoirs; 78 spring tappings; 14 drinking water treatment plants; 17,651 kilometres of conveyance and distribution channels; 131 pumping stations for drinking water and 133 for waste water; 15,317 kilometres of sewage networks; 65 storm tanks; 157 waste water treatment stations; and 651 kilometres of regenerated water channels.

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