ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Wastewater testing could soon give insight into which pathogens are common in the Abilene area.

The Abilene-Taylor County Public Health District is partnering with the Texas Epidemic Public Health Institute and the Center for Disease Control’s national Wastewater Surveillance Program to make the testing project a possibility.

Public health officials will now be taking samples of the Abilene area’s wastewater twice a week so they can be tested for several Pathogens at Baylor University.

“So the pathogens go through our bodies, they go into the wastewater and then out wastewater technicians are going to collect a sample, before the wastewater gets treated,” City of Abilene Data Analyst Olivia Dabbert explains. “So they are collecting a sample that represents the entire Abilene population that uses the sanitary system here, except for the Robertson and Middleton prison units.”

Pathogens being tested for include influenza, West Nile Virus, Polio, and more.

Once the health district receives the results, they will be able to see the concentration on these various pathogens in our wastewater.

This project is funded by the CDC through July 30, 2025.