Given the urgency of the need and the rapid evolution of the global research, the Canadian Coalition on Wastewater-Related COVID-19 Research is advancing a national proof-of-concept pilot for wastewater-based surveillance of SARS-CoV-2. The goals of this pilot are to: 1) rapidly assess the ability for this technique to be usefully applied in Canada and 2) identify the key elements of the approach that would ultimately need to be built into a national surveillance program.
Canadian Water Network has appointed a National Research Advisory Group, chaired by internationally-recognized public health risk expert Dr. Steve E. Hrudey, to oversee the design of this program.
The national proof-of-concept pilot will bring together municipalities, utilities, public health workers, university teams and research labs from across Canada to analyze and compare the results of wastewater testing for indicators of SARS-CoV-2. The National Research Advisory Group will lead identification of a set of sampling, analysis and interpretation methods to be applied to samples from the partner municipalities. The pilot will assess the strengths and limitations of the methods, based on their ability to usefully complement epidemiological interpretations based on clinical data.
As a member of the Global Water Research Coalition, Canadian Water Network is coordinating its COVID-19 Wastewater Coalition activities with international research efforts including the IWA’s COVID-19 Task Force.
As of June 2, the following have endorsed the approach being promoted through the Canadian Coalition on Wastewater-Related COVID-19 Research:
Municipal utilities and regional public health units
- Alberta Capital Region Wastewater Commission
- Brant County Health Unit
- City of Brantford
- City of Guelph
- City of Kitchener
- Metro Vancouver
- Regional Municipality of York
- Utilities Kingston