water testing in lab

County testing wastewater for drugs

By Richard Halstead


Marin officials are hoping that analysis of local wastewater will become an effective tool in addressing a surge of drug overdoses in the county, just as it was in stemming the spread of COVID-19.

In early February, the Marin public health office began testing samples collected weekly at the Central Marin Sanitation Agency in San Rafael for fentanyl, cocaine, nicotine and methamphetamine.

“We were early adopters using wastewater for COVID-19 surveillance,” said Dr. Matt Willis, the county’s public health officer. “That has proven to be one of the most effective tools for us. It’s really the same concept.”

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