Photo by Paul Cockrell

California Wastewater Utilities Participating in COVID Sewer Surveillance

Technology and Innovation

View all coronavirus stories >

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.

In November, the State Water Board honored California wastewater agencies and professionals for voluntarily contributing to wastewater surveillance for SARS-CoV-2.  Board motion (pdf). Board presentation recording (YouTube).

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

California Wastewater Surveillance Websites

CDC COVID Wastewater Tracker      UC Berkeley COVID Wastewater Monitoring

COVID Poops Dashboard

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.

From 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.

News coverage of COVID-19 sewer surveillance: