The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has commissioned a study via the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (National Academies) to review community-level wastewater surveillance and its potential value toward prevention and control of infectious diseases in the United States. The results will help inform research, data, and policy needs surrounding wastewater surveillance for infectious diseases, including novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), as well as assist local health departments in the adoption and broad application of wastewater surveillance.
As the future of wastewater surveillance grows rapidly, greater information is needed from experts across the fields of wastewater engineering, environmental microbiology, and public health, among others. With NACCHO funding, the National Academies will convene an ad hoc committee to bring together a wide range of experts to assess the research to date and provide recommendation of future adoption and applications.
Wastewater surveillance has been utilized to track public health indicators such as polio and opioid use and more recently, to track COVID-19 infection trends at the community- and sub-community level, which have helped inform public health decision making in communities like the City of Tempe, Arizona. As the National Academies undertakes this project and reviews cutting-edge scientific developments on wastewater surveillance, NACCHO hopes to use project outcomes to inform local health departments about how wastewater surveillance can be applied more broadly, including utilization beyond simply tracking COVID-19.