Dr. Zobia Jawed gives a virtual presentation to wastewater operators and managers in B.C. and Yukon Territory

BC and Yukon water and wastewater operators and managers learn about CWCO

On Wednesday September 16th, Dr. Zobia Jawed presented to the Environmental Operators Certification Program (EOCP) Virtual Conference for British Columbia and Yukon based water and wastewater operators and management 

She shared McMaster’s vision for collaboration across Ontario and beyond to establish a system-wide approach to tracking community-level coronavirus spread through wastewater analysis. Several BC and Yukon based groups were interested in exploring how they can collaborate with the McMaster-based initiative. 

We look forward to seeing more cross-province partnerships in this program. 

To see the conference program and other speakers, read more on the 2020 EOCP brochure!

Why is wastewater tracking critical?

No matter how many COVID-19 tests are done, current methods suffer from severe limitations. Governments struggle to capture accurate COVID-19 infection rates of asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic individuals, delaying public health responses. Cutting edge global and domestic research confirms that COVID-19 can be reliably  detected in the feces of affected individuals including those with mild to no symptoms – an area where clinical tests fall short.

A broad wastewater testing system may be able to constantly test and accurately report on the spread of disease within communities to address a crucial need not only for the current pandemic, but for future outbreaks.

You can read more about our approach to building capacity in Ontario for sustainable wastewater monitoring for COVID-19 in our first newsletter.

Download the September newsletter [PDF]

A warm welcome to our student researchers!

As the CWCO initiative takes shape, we are grateful to everyone joining to make this program successful. Today we welcomed a new community to our membership – Haldimand County.

We also added three student researchers to our Student Team page! Over the coming months they will be contributing to different aspects of the program. We look forward to sharing updates on our progress as they help move our research forward!

Welcome Avani, Sasha and Richard!

Brighter World: McMaster researchers study use of wastewater to track coronavirus

McMaster University’s Brighter World news page recently published an article outlining the objectives and current progress of the COVID-19 Wastewater Consortium of Ontario.


Researchers at McMaster University are investigating how municipalities across the province could begin to test raw sewage for the coronavirus and quickly identify outbreaks.

The wastewater system of Ontario may provide new insights and a non-invasive approach to detect the community spread of COVID-19, one of the biggest challenges facing public health experts.

There are more than 400 municipal wastewater treatment plants in Ontario and many more non-municipal wastewater plants—all running a unique sewage system—and researchers hope to collaborate with each of them, but the initial plan is to begin with 30 to 40 plants as well as private labs, and will include First Nations communities, villages and remote communities. Their goal is to build a consortium of municipalities, labs and health professionals to develop a strategy that could be applied to every city, township and village.

Read the entire article on McMaster’s Website>>