About WasterwaterSCAN

WastewaterSCAN is a national effort to spread a leading approach for monitoring diseases through municipal wastewater systems to inform public health responses locally and nationally. Scientists at Stanford University and Emory University, the life sciences company Verily, and local wastewater and public health officials partner to produce actionable data about COVID-19 and other pathogens.

WastewaterSCAN’s long-term goal is to seed a national sentinel system using wastewater that informs public health measures for COVID-19, flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and monkeypox, as well as establish durable infrastructure to help prepare us for future pandemics.

Such a system requires data that’s sensitive, comparable from place to place, and actionable – which WastewaterSCAN provides. WastewaterSCAN will share data publicly through its web dashboard. Additionally, data will be shared to the National Wastewater Surveillance System (NWSS) database established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

To reach its goal, WastewaterSCAN will work with about 300 wastewater treatment plants across the United States that serve about 60% of the population using a public sewage system (that’s about 45% of the total population).

Participating treatments plants will:

Serve a population of 25,000 or more people

18 months
Sample three times a week for up to 18 months

Open data
Display their data on WastewaterSCAN’s online dashboard

WastewaterSCAN may work with some treatment plants that serve smaller populations in the interest of greater health equity.

No Cost to Communities

Philanthropic funding covers the full cost for sampling materials, shipping, and stipends to cover the labor cost to municipalities for sample collection for 12 months, with the possibility of service for up to 18 months.

How It Works

Receive sampling kits

Each participating wastewater treatment plant regularly receives sampling kits from WastewaterSCAN.

Collect samples

Plant employees collect three samples each week, preferably samples of solids that have settled in the plant’s primary clarifier tank (WastewaterSCAN provides equipment to help plants settle solids from liquid samples or Verily can do this at its lab, if necessary). We can accept liquid influent as well.

Submit Samples

Plant employees send in samples to Verily three times a week using prepaid shipping materials.

Process samples

Verily tests samples for genetic markers of the virus that causes COVID-19, monkeypox and other pathogens within 48 hours of receiving samples through overnight shipping.

Disseminate data

Results that indicate the overall levels of the pathogens monitored are made public as soon as they are available.


WastewaterSCAN is a powerful partnership among higher education, industry, public leaders, and philanthropy including:

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