Benidorm presents City Sentinel tool for the detection of Covid-19 in wastewater
This study, the largest developed in Spain, has been integrated into the European Wastewater Monitoring System initiative for EU SARS-CoV-2 Surveillance
Dinapsis, Hidraqua innovation center, Suez group, and Benidorm City Council has presented this morning COVID-19 CITY SENTINEL, a wastewater monitoring solution to quantify the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This innovative tool, which combines an adapted sampling plan, rapid RT-qPCR analysis and access to a digital observatory, has been developed by SUEZ Spain, a business group to which Hidraqua belongs, to monitor the evolution of the virus in wastewater and anticipate the appearance of possible new outbreaks in the population.
The presentation was attended by Toni Pérez, Mayor of Benidorm; Javier Díez, manager of Hidraqua; Antonio Sánchez, Director of Innovation at Dinapsis, Francisco García, Director of Operations at Labaqua Laboratories and Ignacio Casals, Head of Innovation in Hidraqua.
Collaboration with experts, led by Dr. Albert Bosch, a world-renowned specialist in the field of aquatic virology at the University of Barcelona, guarantees the validation of adapted sampling plans whose sampling points and frequency will be adjusted according to population and epidemiological criteria.
The mayor stated during the presentation that "Benidorm is working to implement all the necessary solutions that allow it to position itself as a safe and innovative tourism model, adapted to the new reality. The launch of Sentinel is one more example that demonstrates this work, being the first municipality in the Valencian Community to have this advanced tool ”, which comes from the hand of a business group that has more than 20 years of experience in epidemiological surveillance in Wastewater. He also stressed that it is a project "that puts Benidorm at the forefront" and that "our strategy of city and destination is perfectly aligned with the objectives, which allows us to be better and have more health guarantees".
Likewise, the representatives of Hidraqua and Dinapsis have highlighted that this month marks three years since the opening of Dinapsis. “In the last year, the center has focused on offering technological solutions adapted to each municipality and linked to smart and safe tourism and climate change. This tool is one more example of the work carried out in terms of sustainable territorial management, which is joined by other current projects such as the smart beach, air quality, and forecasts and tools to deal with extreme weather events, among others ” .
"Until now we have reacted after the events take place. Surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater may allow us to advance to cases of COVID-19 to adopt immediate effective measures against a possible new wave of infections," he explained. Dr. Albert Bosch during the telematic intervention he has made during the presentation of this tool.
This solution has been developed based on the results of the research study launched a few months ago by SUEZ, aimed at characterizing the SARS-CoV-2 virus in surface water, wastewater and sewage sludge, in order to monitor the degree of incidence of COVID-19 and its evolution, as well as having an early warning system for possible future outbreaks of the disease. This solution has been positioned as the most comprehensive study carried out in Spain that has been integrated into the European Wastewater Monitoring System initiative for the SARS-CoV-2 Surveillance of the European Commission and the European Directorate General for the Environment, with the support of Water Europe, EurEau and the UN (Environment Program).
In this way, SUEZ and its territorial brand Hidraqua make their experience and knowledge of sewage networks and spill control available to municipalities to sectorize the municipality's sewerage in areas of influence that help trace the origin of SARS-VOC-2. when it is detected. In the same way, its LABAQUA laboratories, a national reference in the implementation of PCR techniques for environmental matrices, are able to deliver reliable results in less than 48 hours using SARS_COV_2 genetic markers in wastewater, in which the virus can be detected and quantified .
How City Sentinel acts
Once representative samples have been collected and analyzed in the laboratory, the results are automatically transferred to a digital platform. This tool allows the public manager to graphically visualize the data, through a dynamic map of the municipality with a sectorization by areas of influence that makes it easier to trace the origin of the SARS-CoV-2. In addition, it serves as a unique observatory of aggregate information combining analytical results with the indicators of health evolution in the municipality. It also allows public and health administrations to pay more attention to critical and high-risk facilities and buildings, such as retirement homes, hospitals or health centers, as well as buildings with high occupancy.