National Wastewater Surveillance System (NWSS)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in collaboration with agencies throughout the federal government, are initiating the National Wastewater Surveillance System (NWSS) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The data generated by NWSS will help public health officials to better understand the extent of COVID-19 infections in communities.

CDC is currently developing a portal for state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments to submit wastewater testing data into a national database for use in summarizing and interpreting data for public health action. Participation in a national database will ensure data comparability across jurisdictions.

Data from wastewater testing is not meant to replace existing COVID-19 surveillance systems, but is meant to complement them by providing:

  • An efficient pooled community sample.
  • Data for communities where timely COVID-19 clinical testing is underutilized or unavailable.
  • Data at the sub-county level.

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