Zia Environmental Technicians – “Ninja Turtles” – Provide Aid in Detecting COVID-19

“Ninja Turtles” Joe Garza and Tom Johnson of Zia pulling a sample (Photo by Victor Gibbs, RPA)

Providing another tool in the fight to detect and control the spread of COVID-19 Zia’s team of “Ninja Turtle” environmental technicians has provided wastewater sampling support to the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) to detect the presence of Covid-19 at selected facility sampling points. This enables municipal government and health authorities to better gauge the spread and level of transmission of the virus.

The team is led by “Head Ninja Turtle” Victoria Brown, Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and Program Manager. Additional key team members include Joe Garza, Tom Johnson, and Victor Gibbs.

The team has been recognized in local news reports including: How ‘sewer sleuthing’ headed off COVID-19 outbreak at juvenile facility (lcsun-news.com) and NMED Fighting the Pandemic from the Sewers.

The sampling program was funded through the federal CARES Act enabling NMED to rapidly launch the wastewater monitoring program to detect COVID-19 and prioritize the use of individual testing to identify and mitigate the spread.