Wastewater surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 on college campuses: Initial efforts, lessons learned and research needs.

Academic Article

Abstract

  • Background: Wastewater surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 is an emerging approach to help identify the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak. This tool can contribute to public health surveillance at both community (wastewater treatment system) and institutional (e.g., colleges, prisons, nursing homes) scales. Objectives: This research aims to understand the successes, challenges, and lessons learned from initial wastewater surveillance efforts at colleges and university systems to inform future research, development and implementation. Methods: This paper presents the experiences of 25 college and university systems in the United States that monitored campus wastewater for SARS-CoV-2 during the fall 2020 academic period. We describe the broad range of approaches, findings, resource needs, and lessons learned from these initial efforts. These institutions range in size, social and political geographies, and include both public and private institutions. Discussion: Our analysis suggests that wastewater monitoring at colleges requires consideration of information needs, local sewage infrastructure, resources for sampling and analysis, college and community dynamics, approaches to interpretation and communication of results, and follow-up actions. Most colleges reported that a learning process of experimentation, evaluation, and adaptation was key to progress. This process requires ongoing collaboration among diverse stakeholders including decision-makers, researchers, faculty, facilities staff, students, and community members.
  • Authors

  • Harris-Lovett, Sasha
  • Nelson, Kara
  • Beamer, Paloma
  • Bischel, Heather N
  • Bivins, Aaron
  • Bruder, Andrea
  • Butler, Caitlyn
  • Camenisch, Todd D
  • Long, Susan K De
  • Karthikeyan, Smruthi
  • Larsen, David A
  • Meierdiercks, Katherine
  • Mouser, Paula
  • Pagsuyoin, Sheree
  • Prasek, Sarah
  • Radniecki, Tyler S
  • Ram, Jeffrey L
  • Roper, D Keith
  • Safford, Hannah
  • Sherchan, Samendra P
  • Shuster, William
  • Stalder, Thibault
  • Wheeler, Robert T
  • Korfmacher, Katrina Smith
  • Publication Date

  • February 3, 2021
  • Published In

  • medRxiv  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)