Water Sector News

A snapshot of clean water stories from publications around the country, updated daily!

Who sees what you flush? Wastewater surveillance for public health is on the rise, but many adults are still unaware

Nov 16, 2022

Flush and forget? Not if you have a toilet that flushes to one of over 3,000 sites around the world where researchers are using wastewater to track SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

But what do members of the public actually know about wastewater surveillance? And what do they think about researchers tracking what they send down the drain at their home?

While not new, this form of public health surveillance has gained attention since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tracking the rise and fall of the level of coronavirus in wastewater provides officials with a snapshot of how much SARS-CoV-2 is circulating in a community. Together with data on case counts, health officials can use this information to guide their local actions – for example, choosing to increase testing or vaccination campaigns. Where available, immunocompromised individuals may also find it useful to access data for their local area via online dashboards as they try to manage their overall exposure risk.

Back To Top
Join NACWA Engage™ Careers Contact Us