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Wales Environmental Wastewater Analysis and Surveillance for Health

WEWASH – Wales Environmental Wastewater Analysis and Surveillance for Health

A collaboration between Bangor University, Cardiff University and Dŵr Cymru/ Welsh Water that uses monitoring of viruses in wastewater to inform public health decisions. We are currently focusing on applying wastewater based epidemiology (WBE) to detecting SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater as a way of monitoring the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic in Wales.

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The WBE cycle relies on monitoring changes in pathogens in the wastewater to inform policy, and then detecting changes in wastewater monitoring as a result.
WBE can be applied to various points in the wastewater treatment process from source through treatment and into the environment.
WBE can be used to answer many different questions, such as site comparison, temporal trends, genetic analysis and treatment efficacy.

Wastewater based epidemiology (WBE) is the monitoring pathogens, pollutants and other chemical and biological markers to gain information about the population in a given wastewater catchment area. This can also involve sampling further upstream within the wastewater network, and downstream from treated effluent, biosolids and in the environment.


WBE can be used to compare the state of different catchment areas and how this changes over time. For biomarkers, genetic analysis can give greater depth of understanding of the origins and spread of disease. These techniques can also be used to monitor the efficacy of different wastewater treatment methods at removing various pathogens and chemical pollutants.

SARS-CoV-2 - Wastewater-based epidemiology in England and Wales

In this video, final year PhD student Luke Hillary presents the findings of our pilot study into SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater, and highlights how WBE can be used to inform both industry and public health policy. Our results lend support to the use of routine WBE to monitor the amount of SARS-CoV-2 and other human pathogens circulating in the population, and to monitor the effectiveness of public health measures in different phases of future pandemics.

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