The Water Research Foundation Names Trussell Technologies as Lead Researcher for COVID-19 Study

Jul 6, 2020
Press Release

​The Water Research Foundation (WRF) announced that, pending contract negotiations, Trussell Technologies will lead Interlaboratory and Methods Assessment of the SARS-CoV-2 Genetic Signal in Wastewater (project 5089). Over sixty U.S.-based laboratories and an additional thirty laboratories outside of the United States have expressed interest in participating in this project. The Trussell Technologies team, led by Brian Pecson, will first gather additional information from these laboratories and designate the list of facilities to participate in the project.

The primary goal of this project is to provide an assessment of the methods currently used at laboratories and facilities to determine which method(s) provide the most reliable and repeatable measurement of the SAR-CoV-2 genetic signal (i.e., copies of RNA) in untreated wastewater. The project results will provide much-needed information on preferred methods to use when performing laboratory analyses for sewer surveillance studies and to understand existing methods’ limits of detection.

If you have questions about project 5089, please contact Stephanie Fevig, WRF Research Program Manager, at (303) 347-6103 or

WRF also expects to release Requests for Qualifications for two additional projects related to COVID-19 in the coming month:

Evaluation of Sample Design in Field Implementation of Wastewater Surveillance for the Genetic Signal of SARS-CoV-2

The purpose of this research is to understand the optimal design of field sampling protocols for quantifying the genetic signal for SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater. This research will develop an approach to understand the factors that affect the strength, stability, and reliability of the SARS-CoV-2 genetic signal in wastewater at a range of scales by conducting a sampling and analytical program in multiple locations of well-characterized community sewersheds.

Impact of Storage and Pre-Treatment Methods on Signal Strength

Several pretreatment methods have been utilized to protect wastewater workers or to preserve samples for future analysis. The objective of this research will be to identify the effect of the following pre-treatments on the strength and stability of the genetic signal:

  • Heating wastewater samples to inactivate potentially live virus
  • Addition of chemicals to inactivate potentially viable pathogens in the wastewater samples
  • Storage of samples at 4°C, -20°C, -40°C, -80°C for various timeframes

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.