The Water Research Foundation to Host Virtual International Water Research Summit on Environmental Surveillance of COVID-19 Indicators in Sewersheds

Apr 6, 2020

The Water Research Foundation (WRF) is hosting a virtual international water research summit on environmental surveillance of COVID-19 indicators in sewersheds. By the end of April, a select group of world-renowned researchers and water leaders will come together to address challenges with environmental surveillance of COVID-19 to accelerate progress towards informing community health decision-making.

Research teams around the world are currently exploring the potential utility of environmental surveillance of indicators of COVID-19 in sewersheds for identifying the presence of COVID-19 cases in communities. This research holds great promise, and the summit will address a number of critical technical issues to further advance this work:

  • Location, timing, and procedures for collecting and preserving samples of wastewater
  • Approaches for identifying the concentration of indicators of COVID-19 in wastewater samples
  • Relationship between concentrations of COVID-19 indicators and the presence and progress of COVID-19 cases in the community, including the severity of disease and length of time since the initial infection
  • Sensitivity of analytical results as an indicator of changes in community prevalence of COVID-19

Summit participants will share expertise, best practices, and case studies, and will develop a coordinated near-term research roadmap to address critical areas for additional research to advance the effectiveness of environmental surveillance of indicators of COVID-19 through sewershed monitoring. Research specialists attending the summit will focus on data collection, method development, and data interpretation. WRF will broadly share the summit recommendations with communities and researchers around the globe to promote best practices, save resources, and accelerate progress with this important work. Following the summit, WRF will join with funding partners to quickly advance priority research gaps identified by summit participants. 

About WRF

The Water Research Foundation (WRF) is the leading not-for-profit research cooperative that advances the science of water to protect public health and the environment. Governed by utilities, WRF delivers scientifically sound research solutions and knowledge to serve our subscribers and stakeholders in all areas of drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, and reuse.