California Wastewater Utilities Participating in COVID Sewer Surveillance

Technology and Innovation

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Photo by Paul Cockrell

Testing wastewater for RNA strands of the coronavirus might tell local officials how widespread COVID-19 is in their community and whether infections are rising or falling. Known as “sewer surveillance” or “wastewater epidemiology” – wastewater professionals are once again working to protect public health.

An important note – finding coronavirus RNA in wastewater does not mean it is infectious virus. According to WEF, the scientific community has found no evidence of viable COVID-19 virus in wastewater systems.

Participating Utilities

Here are the utilities we know of. If your utility is participating in COVID sewer surveillance please email us and we’ll add your agency to the list.

  • Bay Area Regional Wastewater Epidemiology – UC Berkeley Lab
  • Carmel Area Wastewater District – BioBot
  • Cambria CSD
  • Cayucos Sanitary District
  • Central San
  • City of American Canyon
  • City of Escondido, Hale Avenue Resource Recovery Facility  – UC Irvine research project
  • City of Fontana
  • City of Gilroy
  • City of Los Angeles Sanitation and Environment
  • City of Modesto
  • City of Oceanside
  • City of Oxnard
  • City of Paso Robles
  • City of Rio Dell
  • City of San Diego
  • City of San Francisco
  • City of Santa Barbara – UC Santa Barbara research project
  • City of San Diego – University of Arizona research project
  • City of San José-Santa Clara County
  • City of Santa Cruz
  • City of San Luis Obispo
  • Dublin San Ramon SD
  • East Bay MUD – working with researchers at Stanford University and University of Arizona
  • Irvine Ranch Water District  – UC Irvine research project
  • Inland Empire Utilities Agency
  • Jurupa Community Services District
  • Lake County Special Districts – BioBot
  • Las Virgenes MWD
  • Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts
    • Joint Plant WPCP, Carson
    • San Jose Creek WRP
    • La Canada WRP
  • Montecito Sanitary District – UC Santa Barbara research project
  • Orange County Sanitation District
  • Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District – working with researchers at Stanford University, University of Arizona and UC Davis
  • South Orange County Wastewater Authority
  • San Bernardino MWD
  • Silicon Valley Clean Water
  • State Water Board
  • UC Berkeley
  • UC Davis
  • UC San Diego

According to the LA Times:

From Stanford to the University of Arizona, from Australia to Paris, teams of researchers have been ramping up wastewater analyses to track the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Initial studies show that sewage monitoring, or “wastewater-based-epidemiology,” could not only tell us how much the virus might actually be spreading in a community — but also when the virus has finally gone away.

Other news coverage of COVID-19 sewer surveillance: