The European Commission published a recommendation on monitoring SARS-CoV-2 and its variants in waste water in the EU.

The text “strongly encourages” Member States to put in place a national waste water surveillance system targeted at data collection of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants in waste waters by 1 October 2021.

EurEau members participated in the pilot project run by the JRC.

Waste water treatment plants can test for the virus in waste water, giving government and health authorities an insight into the prevalence of Covid-19 in the population, sometimes before people start showing symptoms and themselves knowing they have the virus.

This can give authorities a crucial advance warning of outbreaks in their local region or town, giving them valuable and cost-effective information to make public health decisions.

The monitoring system should include at least large cities with over 150,000 inhabitants, preferably with a minimum sampling frequency of two samples per week.

The Commission will provide financial assistance to support waste water surveillance activities and the systematic analysis of variants as well as to create a dedicated European exchange platform.

A Commission recommendation is a non-binding/non-legislative text. 

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