People with COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 infection can shed the virus in their stool, which can then be detected in wastewater, making environmental surveillance of wastewater a feasible means to monitor the circulation of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease, in the population.
The National SARS-CoV-2 Wastewater Surveillance Programme (NWSP) has been established through a partnership with Irish Water, the National Virus Reference Laboratory (NVRL), University College Dublin (UCD), the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) and Health Intelligence Unit (HIU).
Samples from 68 wastewater catchment areas across Ireland are taken on a weekly basis and analysed for the presence of SARS-CoV-2.
The wastewater catchment area of Ringsend in Dublin is sampled twice a week given the size of the population it captures.
These 68 wastewater catchment areas (see Figure 2) cover 80% of the population connected to public wastewater treatment facilities.