Weekly Wastewater Sampling for the Presence of SARS-CoV-2

Wastewater data is used to track trends in the overall prevalence of COVID-19 on four of the University of Maine System campuses and in two surrounding communities

Wastewater testing is a valuable part of the University of Maine System’s multilayered test-trace-isolate strategy for monitoring COVID-19. We use wastewater testing to track trends in the overall prevalence of COVID-19 on four of our campuses and in two surrounding communities. Wastewater monitoring works because infected people may start shedding virus in their stool a few days before they show any symptoms of disease, or even if they never show symptoms. While wastewater testing cannot identify infected individuals, it provides data that we can measure against current known cases on campuses and allows us to identify emerging infection trends. We are testing wastewater at two central collection points on four UMS campuses and at municipal treatment facilities in the cities Orono and Farmington. As we refine our methods, we plan to deploy more targeted wastewater testing that could help identify cases in a specific building or buildings, for example, and help focus amplified individual asymptomatic testing.

Wastewater Data Explained

The below can be a helpful reference when reading the data provided by the University of Maine System’s campuses and local municipalities.

  • The limit of detection used to measure SARS-CoV2 in wastewater is ≈ 5,000 virus equivalents per liter (vE/L). Readings above this level are listed as positive with vE/L in parentheses.
    • Readings below this level are listed as indeterminate (they indicate the presence of the virus but do not allow reliable calculation of virus concentrations).
  • A negative result indicates that no virus was found in the wastewater.
  • Samples are generally collected at campus sites over a 24-hour period Monday into Tuesday and Thursday into Friday.
  • “No sample” indicates that no sample was collected at a given location on the date listed. (Weather, wastewater flow rate and other circumstances can hinder sample collection).

University of Maine System Campus Results:

Updated campus wastewater data can be found below.

UMaine 1 represents a sample covering buildings on the North end of the UMaine campus.

UMaine 2 represents a sample covering buildings on the South end of the UMaine campus.

UMaine Estabrooke represents a sample covering Lengyel Hall, Kennebec Hall, Aroostook Hall, York Village, Nutting Hall, Libby Hall, the Bryand Global Sciences Center, the Sawyer Environmental Research Center, the USDA-ARS New England Plant, Soil, and Water Laboratory, the Oceanographic Operations building, and part of Hitchner Hall, along with a variety of smaller administrative buildings on the UMaine campus.

UMaine Somerset represents a sample covering Somerset Hall on the UMaine campus.

Sample Date (Range) UMaine 1 – North UMaine 2 – South
4/30/21 Positive (76,971 vE/L) Indeterminate
4/27/21 Positive (42,989 vE/L) Indeterminate
4/23/21 Positive (32,388 vE/L) Indeterminate
4/20/21 Positive (731,803 vE/L) Negative
4/16/21 Positive (42,310 vE/L) Indeterminate
4/13/21 Positive (66,724 vE/L) Positive (6,659 vE/L)
4/9/21 Positive (269,580 vE/L) Positive (13,942 vE/L)
4/6/21 Positive (105,602 vE/L) Indeterminate
4/2/21 Positive (32,091 vE/L) Indeterminate
3/30/21 Positive (73,382 vE/L) Positive (13,020 vE/L)
3/26/21 Positive (67,076 vE/L) Indeterminate
3/23/21 Positive (174,841 vE/L) Indeterminate
3/19/21 Positive (71,182 vE/L) Negative
3/16/21 Positive (60,080 vE/L) Negative
3/12/21 Positive (25,908 vE/L) Positive (21,902 vE/L)
3/9/21 Positive (5,260 vE/L) Indeterminate
3/5/21 Positive (6,533 vE/L) Negative
3/2/21 Positive (5,420 vE/L) Indeterminate
2/26/21 Positive (9,792 vE/L) Indeterminate
2/23/21 Positive (33,355 vE/L) Indeterminate
2/19/21 Positive (15,524 vE/L) Indeterminate
2/17/21 Positive (76,693 vE/L) Positive (18,824 vE/L)
2/16/21 No Sample No Sample
2/12/21 Positive (98,651 vE/L) Positive (21,752 vE/L)
2/9/21 Positive (38,861 vE/L) Positive (38,886 vE/L)
2/8/21 Positive (53,851 vE/L) Positive (322,738 vE/L)
2/5/21 Positive (188,164 vE/L) Positive (219,237 vE/L)
2/2/21 Positive (10,141 vE/L) Indeterminate
1/29/21 Positive (64,367 v E/L) Positive (10,091 v E/L)
1/27/21 Positive (59,755 v E/L) No Sample
1/22/21 Positive (13,232 vE/L) Positive (94,353 vE/L)
1/20/21 Positive (6,326 vE/L) Indeterminate
Sample Date (Range) UMaine – Estabrooke UMaine – Somerset
4/30/21 Indeterminate Positive (116,593 vE/L)
4/27/21 Indeterminate Positive (93,314 vE/L)
4/23/21 Indeterminate Positive (69,428 vE/L)
4/20/21 Negative Positive (138,905 vE/L)
4/16/21 Positive (10,082 vE/L) Positive (41,220 vE/L)
4/13/21 Positive (20,445 vE/L) Positive (327,869 vE/L)
4/9/21 Positive (5,762 vE/L) Positive (101,817 vE/L)
4/6/21 Positive (5,149 vE/L) Positive (883,044 vE/L)
4/2/21 Indeterminate Positive (232,938 vE/L)
3/30/21 Positive (5,023 vE/L) Positive (258,474 vE/L)
3/26/21 Indeterminate Positive (4,696 vE/L)
3/23/21 Positive (21,361 vE/L) Positive (9,834 vE/L)
3/19/21 Indeterminate Positive (37,582 vE/L)
3/16/21 Indeterminate Positive (117,494 vE/L)
3/12/21 Positive (19,098 vE/L) Positive (21,965 vE/L)
3/9/21 Indeterminate Indeterminate
3/5/21 Indeterminate Indeterminate
3/2/21 Indeterminate Indeterminate

This data represents dorms on the University of Southern Maine Gorham campus.

USM – Gorham 1 represents the following dorms on the University of Southern Maine Gorham campus: Anderson Hall, Philippi Hall, Robie Andrews Hall, Upton Hastings Hall, and Woodward Hall.

USM – Gorham 2 represents the following dorms on the University of Southern Maine Gorham campus: Upperclass Hall

Sample Date (Range) USM – Gorham 1 USM – Gorham 2
4/30/21 Negative Positive (22,221 vE/L)
4/27/21 Negative Positive (63,867 vE/L)
4/23/21 Indeterminate Indeterminate
4/20/21 Indeterminate Negative
4/16/21 Indeterminate Negative
4/13/21 Positive (26,183 vE/L) Negative
4/9/21 Negative Negative
4/6/21 Indeterminate Indeterminate
4/2/21 Positive (26,074 vE/L) Negative
3/30/21 Indeterminate Negative
3/26/21 Indeterminate Positive (7,066 vE/L)
3/23/21 Negative Positive (8,110 vE/L)
3/19/21 Positive (8,362 vE/L) Positive (559,336 vE/L)
3/16/21 Negative Indeterminate
3/12/21 Negative Negative
3/9/21 Negative Negative
3/5/21 Negative Negative
3/2/21 Indeterminate Indeterminate
2/26/21 Negative Negative
2/23/21 Negative Negative
2/19/21 Negative Indeterminate
2/17/21 No Sample No Sample
2/16/21 Negative Indeterminate
2/12/21 Indeterminate Indeterminate
2/9/21 Negative Negative
2/8/21 No Sample No Sample
2/5/21 Negative Positive (10,730 vE/L)
2/2/21 Indeterminate Indeterminate
1/29/21 No Sample No Sample
1/27/21 No Sample No Sample
1/22/21 No Sample No Sample
1/20/21 No Sample No Sample

UMFK represents dorms and administrative buildings on the University of Maine at Fort Kent campus.

Sample Date (Range) UMFK
4/30/21 Negative
4/27/21 Negative
4/23/21 Negative
4/20/21 Negative
4/16/21 Negative
4/13/21 Negative
4/9/21 Indeterminate
4/6/21 Negative
3/30/21 Negative
3/26/21 Negative
3/23/21 Indeterminate
3/19/21 Negative
3/16/21 Negative
3/12/21 Negative
3/9/21 Negative
3/5/21 Negative
3/2/21 Negative
2/26/21 Negative
2/23/21 Negative
2/19/21 Indeterminate
2/17/21 Indeterminate
2/16/21 No Sample
2/12/21 Indeterminate
2/9/21 Positive (349,062 vE/L)
2/9/21 No Sample
2/5/21 No Sample
2/2/21 Negative
1/29/21 Indeterminate
1/27/21 Indeterminate
1/22/21 No Sample
1/20/21 No Sample

UMPI 1 represents Merriman Hall, the Campus Center, and Kelly Commons on the University of Maine at Presque Isle campus.
UMPI 2 represents the Facilities Support Building, Wieden Hall, Gentile Hall, and Folsom-Pullen Hall

Sample Date (Range) UMPI 1 UMPI 2
4/30/21 Negative Negative
4/27/21 Indeterminate Negative
4/23/21 Positive (11,999 vE/L) Negative
4/21/21 Indeterminate Negative
4/16/21 Negative Indeterminate
4/13/21 Negative Negative
4/9/21 Negative Negative
4/6/21 Negative Negative
4/2/21 Negative Negative
3/30/21 Negative Negative
3/26/21 Negative Negative
3/23/21 Negative Negative
3/19/21 Negative Negative
3/16/21 Negative Negative
3/12/21 Negative Negative
3/9/21 Negative Negative
3/5/21 Negative Negative
3/2/21 Negative No Sample
2/26/21 Negative No Sample
2/23/21 Indeterminate No Sample
2/19/21 Negative No Sample
2/17/21 Negative No Sample
2/16/21 No Sample No Sample
2/12/21 Indeterminate No Sample
2/9/21 Negative No Sample
2/8/21 No Sample No Sample
2/5/21 Negative No Sample
2/2/21 Negative No Sample
1/29/21 Negative No Sample
1/27/21 Negative No Sample
1/22/21 No Sample No Sample
1/20/21 No Sample No Sample

Municipal Results

Updated municipal wastewater data can be found below.

Orono data represents wastewater collected at the Orono Water Pollution Control Facility, which receives contributions from the University of Maine campus and also the off-campus housing complexes where University of Maine students live, as well as the rest of the town.

Sample Date (Range) Orono
4/29/21 Positive (17,650 vE/L)
4/27/21 Positive (14,486 vE/L)
4/22/21 Positive (18,540 vE/L)
4/20/21 Positive (24,906 vE/L)
4/15/21 Positive (28,193 vE/L)
4/13/21 Positive (62,303 vE/L)
4/8/21 Positive (45,122 vE/L)
4/6/21 Positive (54,997 vE/L)
4/1/21 Positive (71,777 vE/L)
3/30/21 Positive (54,414 vE/L)
3/25/21 Positive (19,969 vE/L)
3/23/21 Positive (40,310 vE/L)
3/18/21 Positive (70,355 vE/L)
3/16/21 Positive (135,352 vE/L)
3/11/21 Positive (12,075 vE/L)
3/9/21 Positive (11,484 vE/L)
3/4/21 Positive (9,225 vE/L)
3/2/21 Positive (22,283 vE/L)
2/26/21 Positive (5,096 vE/L)
2/23/21 Indeterminate
2/18/21 Indeterminate
2/16/21 Positive (21,686 vE/L)
2/11/21 Positive (11,084 vE/L)
2/10/21 Positive (15,029 vE/L)
2/9/21 Positive (7,061 vE/L)
2/5/21 Positive (24,386 vE/L)
2/2/21  Positive (24,872 v E/L)
1/29/21 Positive (8,218 v E/L)
1/27/21 Positive (29,648 v E/L)
1/22/21 Positive (13,480 vE/L)
1/19/21 Positive (4,871 vE/L)

Farmington data represents wastewater collected at the Farmington Wastewater Treatment Facility, which receives contributions from the University of Maine at Farmington, as well as the rest of the town.

Sample Date (Range) Farmington
4/29/21 Positive (9,075 vE/L)
4/28/21 Positive (24,930 vE/L)
4/22/21 Positive (138,216 vE/L)
4/21/21 Positive (26,043 vE/L)
4/15/21 Positive (6,759 vE/L)
4/14/21 Indeterminate
4/8/21 Positive (7,177 vE/L)
4/7/21 Indeterminate
4/2/21 Indeterminate
3/30/21 Positive (53,424 vE/L)
3/25/21 Indeterminate
3/24/21 Indeterminate
3/18/21 Indeterminate
3/17/21 Indeterminate
3/11/21 Indeterminate
3/10/21 Indeterminate
3/4/21 Indeterminate
3/2/21 Indeterminate
2/25/21 Negative
2/24/21 Indeterminate
2/18/21 Indeterminate
2/17/21 Indeterminate
2/11/21 Indeterminate
2/10/21 Indeterminate
2/9/21 No Sample
2/4/21 Positive (7,726 vE/L)
2/3/21 Indeterminate
1/28/21 Positive (35,020 v E/L)
1/27/21 Positive (63,690 v E/L)
1/21/21 Positive (23,034 vE/L)
1/20/21 Positive (15,138 vE/ L)