Tests of wastewater from across Maine have shown a steady increase in COVID-19 cases in recent months, offering additional, localized insight into the spread of the coronavirus.

Some Maine colleges, meanwhile, have successfully used the stuff flushed down the toilet to detect and isolate cases before they lead to larger outbreaks. St. Joseph’s College, for instance, has found infected-but-asymptomatic individuals on campus after following the virus trail to specific buildings.

“The wastewater has given us the tip off,” said Oliver Griswold, a spokesman for the small, private college in Standish. “In both of the two outbreaks we’ve had, we heard from the wastewater first.” Read more