Update: Registration for the April 27, 2020 virtual internal summit is open.

The Water Research Foundation (WRF) is moving quickly to host a virtual international water research summit on environmental surveillance of COVID-19 indicators in sewersheds yet this month.

Sewersheds are an important focus because they’re areas of land where several sewers flow to a single end point. These areas range from small to quite large. Many smaller sewersheds, for example, can run into larger conveyance pipes en route to a wastewater treatment plant. In some cases, sewage can overflow into nearby rivers or streams when storm water fills up these pipes.

WRF will bring together world-renowned researchers and water experts to address challenges we’re facing with environmental surveillance of COVID-19. Community decision-making must be built on science. To that end, we need to assess all manner of coronavirus risks and sound approaches to protecting public health.

“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,” a WRF spokesperson said. The summit will address technical issues in this work, including:

  • “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; and
  • “Sensitivity of analytical results as an indicator of changes in community prevalence of COVID-19.”

WRF expects summit participants to share expertise, case studies and best practices and to develop a “near-term research roadmap.” The foundation plans to disseminate the summit outcomes to communities and researchers worldwide to quickly advance work in these areas.

We at zNano are looking forward to it.