Wastewater Testing For Drugs

Wastewater Surveillance Testing

Safework Health is also the only commercial laboratory in Australia that conducts wastewater surveillance testing.

Our wastewater drug monitoring service offers invaluable insights into potential drug usage or abuse within your workplace. It delivers precise assessments of the actual extent of drug utilisation, identifies the types of drugs being misused, and pinpoints any worksites exhibiting elevated or unusual drug activity.

Our National Toxicologist crafts customised reports detailing drug usage within your workplace. By providing dependable, objective data for a designated area, these reports enable targeted interventions, saving you time and money.

The benefits of wastewater testing for drugs include:

  • Provides reliable and objective chemical data
  • Estimates drug use without relying on self-reporting
  • Captures drug use in the population of a catchment area in real-time.

What Is Wastewater Testing?

Wastewater monitoring was originally a process of screening liquid waste (greywater) from households and communities for substances that might be harmful to the environment.

It was quickly realised that wastewater monitoring is even more useful in measuring the drugs taken by the population in a particular catchment area.

Regulators primarily use wastewater analysis to study trends in illicit drug use in urban settings, including small communities and workplaces.

Wastewater surveillance testing involves sampling a source of greywater and estimating the quantity of drugs consumed by a defined community. Researchers measure the levels of illicit drugs and their metabolites found in urine that end up in wastewater.


Wastewater Testing In The Workplace

Wastewater testing can quickly detect changing drug use trends at a worksite. This enables you to detect drug use or abuse among your workforce, including the specific substances involved.

Once you have an idea of the scope of drug use in your workplace, you can implement a workplace drug and alcohol testing program. Drug and alcohol testing programs can help you identify who among your workers might be suffering from substance abuse.

You can also identify how effective your workplace drug use intervention strategies are. We can help pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of your programs, so you can implement changes where necessary.


Safework Health conducts drug testing by analysing wastewater from portable toilets.;

Drug Testing Using Portable Toilet Wastewater

Safework Health offers drug testing through the analysis of wastewater obtained from portable toilets.

The process of collecting samples from portable toilets is seamless and efficient. Your team can easily collect samples, or rely on our team of qualified Collectors for assistance.

Once the samples are received, our National Toxicologist oversees the analysis process. Within a swift four-day timeframe, you will receive a concise report detailing the detected drugs, ensuring timely and actionable insights.

Safework Health conducts drug testing by analysing wastewater from portable toilets.;

What Drugs Are Detected?

We can detect a wide range of illicit drugs typically abused by users, including:

  • Amphetamine-type stimulants: Amphetamine, Methamphetamine, MDMA (Ecstasy), MDA
  • Cocaine
  • Sedatives
  • Standard opiates: Morphine, Codeine, Heroin
  • Semisynthetic opioids: Oxycodone, Fentanyl
  • Benzodiazepines: Oxazepam Central metabolite of many BZOs)

We aim to expand this to include THC (Cannabis) and Ketamine in the near future.

Test results are typically available within two to three weeks after we receive the wastewater samples.

The testing period will depend on the intensive requirements for the data being analysed. For instance, fractionating data for subsite analysis and multisite comparisons often increases the total analysis time.


What Are The Benefits?

Wastewater analysis offers an efficient way of gathering objective and reliable chemical data on drug use in a given catchment.

The results are not subject to the response bias we get in questionnaires, and the process reveals the true spectrum and amount of drugs being consumed in a particular area. This is important since users are often unaware of the actual mix they take, and on-site testing will not capture every user.

Through greywater testing, researchers can collect information on trends almost in real-time. With these results, they can measure the effectiveness of drug use intervention strategies in the workplace, by retesting a site after new drug policies had been put in place.

Wastewater analysis also provides better monitoring of changes in illicit drug use trends. Researchers can use it to detect fluctuations in weekly patterns.

For example, some testing sites in urban areas may show higher cocaine metabolites and ecstasy loads on certain days. This could occur during or just after weekends and holidays. Meanwhile, other areas may show even distributions of amphetamine and methamphetamine loads throughout an entire week.


National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program

The National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program, funded by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), regularly releases regular reports on illicit and potentially misused drug trends detected in wastewater.

These reports provide valuable information about the types of drugs being consumed, their prevalence, and any changes in usage patterns over time.

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Enquire now to learn more about our wastewater testing services.


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