Effectiveness of building-level sewage surveillance during both community-spread and sporadic-infection phases of SARS-CoV-2 in a university campus population. Journal Article uri icon



  • Pathogen surveillance within wastewater rapidly progressed during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and informed public health management. In addition to the successful monitoring of entire sewer catchment basins at the treatment facility scale, subcatchment or building-level monitoring enabled targeted support of resource deployment. However, optimizing the temporal and spatial resolution of these monitoring programs remains complex due to population dynamics and within-sewer physical, chemical, and biological processes. To address these limitations, this study explores the advancement of the building-scale network that monitored the on-campus residential population at the University of Colorado Boulder between August 2020 and May 2021 through a daily SARS-CoV-2 surveillance campaign. During the study period, SARS-CoV-2 infection prevalence transitioned from robust community spread in Fall 2020 to sporadic infections in Spring 2021. Temporally, these distinct phases enabled investigating the effectiveness of resource commitment by exploring subsets of the original daily sampling data. Spatially, select sampling sites were installed along the flow path of the pipe network, enabling the exploration of the conservation of viral concentrations within the wastewater. Infection prevalence and resource commitment for informed action displayed an inverted relationship: higher temporal and spatial resolution surveillance is more imperative during sporadic infection phases than during high prevalence periods. This relationship was reinforced when norovirus (two minor clusters) and influenza (primarily absent) were additionally surveilled at a weekly frequency. Overall, resource commitment should scale to meet the objectives of the monitoring campaign-providing a general prevalence estimate requires fewer resources than an early-warning and targeted-action monitoring framework.

publication date

  • January 1, 2022

has restriction

  • gold

Date in CU Experts

  • January 17, 2023 8:32 AM

Full Author List

  • Johnson W; Reeves K; Liebig J; Feula A; Butler C; Alkire M; Singh S; Litton S; O'Conor K; Jones K

author count

  • 16

Other Profiles

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2633-6685

Additional Document Info

start page

  • xtac024


  • 3