Methods for monitoring COVID-19 in wastewater being transitioned to statewide program

Posted February 4, 2022

A SCCWRP-led statewide committee that has been developing methods for using wastewater streams to monitor COVID-19 infections in communities has begun working with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to transition the methods into a routine statewide monitoring program.

The method transfer effort, launched in January by the California Water Quality Monitoring Council’s Wastewater Based Epidemiology Committee, will enable CDPH to eventually take over tracking COVID-19 virus levels entering about 18 wastewater treatment plants across California, including those run by SCCWRP’s member agencies.

Over the past 1-1/2 years – as the monitoring methods were being developed and vetted – individual plants across California have been monitoring influent streams with support from academic and other partners, including SCCWRP, and, later, from the Wastewater Based Epidemiology Committee, which SCCWRP chairs. The handoff to CDPH will help ensure the monitoring program’s long-term sustainability.

The handoff started with an interlaboratory calibration exercise – expected to be completed this spring – to ensure the CDPH can produce monitoring data comparable to other laboratories, including SCCWRP.

More news related to: Microbial Source Tracking, Microbial Water Quality