Monitoring of SARS-CoV-2
in Wastewater

Wastewater-based epidemiology as an early warning system. Reliable support of public
health management according to the EU Commission's official recommendation of March 17, 2021.

 

 

 

Detection of the novel coronavirus in wastewater

Fragments of the genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the infectious disease Covid-19, are found in the excretions of infected people. These viral fragments can be detected in sewage samples at very low concentrations, even before first symptoms have occurred. Viral traces are also detectable in infected individuals with mild or asymptomatic courses of infection.

Nationwide SARS-CoV-2 wastewater monitoring has already been established in Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain and the Netherlands. In the near future, wastewater monitoring will also be systematically integrated into Germany's national testing strategy for the detection of SARS-CoV-2.

Testing request

Request the analysis of your samples now or request further information material. The detection is done by RT-qPCR (recommended by the EU Commission). Sampling is performed by our certified partner HPC AG or independently. Results are available from 24 hours after sample receipt. The procedure is suitable for wastewater treatment plants as well as for public and private institutions.

On-site specialists

vermicon AG is a pioneer in wastewater microbiology and HPC AG is a specialist in wastewater management, infrastructure planning and environmental consulting. Together we stand for highest quality and safety of results as well as for customer-oriented support. With more than 400 employees and 30 locations in Germany, HPC AG is represented in many regions. Reliable, personal, accessible - these are the guiding principles that drive us in this partnership.

Wastewater-based epidemiology

Wastewater-based epidemiology represents an effective tool in supporting the public health management. Not only is it a quick and inexpensive method, but it is also a reliable tool for mapping the course of infection of entire communities and municipalities.

Act now!

Wastewater monitoring has a head start of up to ten days over diagnostic tests according to current data. All residents of a catchment area are recorded and not only those who have been tested. Thus, wastewater monitoring can be successfully implemented as an early warning system. The data collected can be used both for the early identification of a potential need for action on the part of municipal or industrial decision-makers and for the preparation of an adapted catalog of measures.

 

Timing from infection to detection of Corona / SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater.

Benefits and advantages of the SARS-CoV-2 wastewater monitoring

The wastewater analysis of SARS-CoV-2 represents a comprehensive anonymous testing of populations and is much faster, cheaper and more efficient than medical individual testing. The regular analysis of composite samples, originating from inlets of wastewater treatment plants or the discharge of public and private facilities, provides reliable and early results. In addition to data collection at municipal wastewater treatment plants, wastewater monitoring enables timely detection of the dynamics of infection events in residential facilities, such as retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, hospitals, and other public or private facilities.

 

Individual testing

  • Poor systematic approach and fluctuations in data collection

  • Burden and restrictions for individuals

  • No comprehensive overview of the actual course of infection

  • Social resentment

Wastewater testing

  • Systematic approach and standardized data collection

  • Safe, realistic results

  • Comprehensive monitoring

  • Early detection of infection waves

  • Less resources (costs and staff) required to determine the scope of infection

  • Contribution to a safe, reliable health management system

  • Unstressed population

The right choice when taking samples

Sampling should be representative and uncomplicated at the same time. Our partner HPC AG supports you in mastering this balancing act. The appropriate kind of sampling depends on local conditions, the location of the sampling points and the availability of personnel.

HPC AG gives advice on the right sampling technique and selection of sampling locations. They can for example determine the mixing proportions of different wastewater streams at the main outfall based on sewer network simulations and therefore suggest further sampling locations upstream in the wastewater pipeline system as well as provide indications of hotspots.

How is the sampling and analysis performed?

Type and procedure of analysis

Sampling volume Concentration
at least 200 ml 40 ml wastewater sample

 

Sampling options

  Scoop sampling Qualified sampling Time-proportional sampling Volume-based sampling
Type manual manual automatic automatic
Reference value none time time volume
Description Sample is taken manually. Sample is taken manually several times a day at the same time.
DIN specification: 5 individual samples in two hours.
Sample is taken automatically at defined intervals. Sample is taken automatically after defined volumes.
Installation necessary no no yes yes
Costs for installation none none medium high
Pool sample no yes yes yes
Manual effort medium high low low
Representative results no low high high

In order to account for possible dilution effects in wastewater (e.g. heavy rainfalls), a fecal indicator in the form of the plant virus PMMoV is used. The measurement of PMMoV serves as a normalization standard and provides conclusions about the fecal content of the sample.

Regular, representative sampling (e.g. 24-hour composite sample) and analysis can reliably detect and document minute changes in SARS-CoV-2 infection incidence.

Wastewater Biology

Biological wastewater treatment would not be possible without microorganisms. With our expertise, quality-assuring operational analysis is possible which directly examines and tracks all living microorganisms and their interaction in wastewater.

Disruption prevention

Learn how the monitoring of (micro)biological processes can be successfully integrated into the plant's operational analytics. Our annual monitoring is structured modularly and thus allows a flexible adaptation to the individual needs of municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants.

VIT® Vision Software

With VIT® Vision, the entire biology of the wastewater treatment plant can finally be recorded, analyzed, visualized and quantified. The results can then be implemented in the operational control system to optimize operational reliability.