About WasterwaterSCAN

WastewaterSCAN is a national program that monitors infectious diseases through municipal wastewater systems to inform public health responses at a local, regional, or national level.

WastewaterSCAN’s approach is sensitive, comparable from place to place, and useful to public health officials and the public. WastewaterSCAN shares data publicly through our online dashboard. Additionally, data are provided to the CDC’s National Wastewater Surveillance System (NWSS) database. 

We analyze trends and help translate findings through data interpretation and regular meetings with public health officials, wastewater treatment plants, and others. Our methods are published for use by other scientists and public health and wastewater monitoring practitioners. WastewaterSCAN is led by researchers from Stanford University and Emory University and is philanthropically funded.

Participating treatment plants will:

Serve a population of 10,000 or more people

Sample three times a week

Open data
Display results 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.

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 our lab partner can do this, if necessary). We can accept liquid influent as well.

Submit Samples

Plant employees send samples to WastewaterSCAN’s lab partner Verily three times a week using prepaid shipping materials.

Process samples

The lab tests samples for genetic markers of the virus that causes COVID-19, flu, RSV, 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 on our data dashboard as soon as they are available.


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