Wastewater utilities are key actors in maintaining water quality and managing risks to public health, food security and other ecosystem services and functions.
The tracking of COVID-19 brings new relevance to this topic. Studies on COVID-19 have shown that the virus is shed in faeces and hence collected in the sewerage systems in cities, where such systems exist. As cities continue to grapple with how to monitor and manage the spread of COVID-19 in the medium to long-term, wastewater and faecal sludge monitoring can potentially serve as a cost-effective “early-warning” mechanism to identify hotspots.
What good practices exist with regards to monitoring of wastewater? How is the sanitation challenge being tackled in the context of COVID-19? What are the opportunities for using wastewater to track COVID-19 infection spread? What are the issues, needs and potential solutions given the possible relevance of fecal-oral transmission?
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