Twice a week, mathematics professor Andrea Bruder squats in the sewage tunnels below South Hall, a mostly freshman dorm at Colorado College. She wears head-to-toe protective gear and holds a plastic ladle in one hand and a to-go coffee cup in the other. Bruder hovers above an opening in a large metal pipe and patiently waits for a student to flush.
That flush will flood the pipes with just enough water to carry human waste down to her ladle, then to her coffee cup and eventually to a lab for processing.
According to an analysis by NPR, Bruder's small private college in Colorado Springs is one of more than 65 U.S. colleges testing wastewater in an effort to monitor coronavirus spread. And that number is growing.