As you review the following FAQ, please keep in mind that we will continue to update the answers below with the most current information from the CDC as it becomes available.
What is the National Wastewater Surveillance System (NWSS) Program?
In the fall of 2020, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) founded the National Wastewater Surveillance System (NWSS) in order to track and curb the COVID-19 pandemic. In the words of the CDC, the purpose of NWSS is “to coordinate and build the nation’s capacity to track the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in wastewater samples collected across the country.” From April 15th, 2022 onward, the program relies on Biobot Analytics’ Covid-19 wastewater analysis, which has been deployed commercially since March 2020, to generate wastewater data.
How does the program work?
Step 1: Interested community or wastewater treatment plant registers for the CDC program.
Step 2: Biobot ships sampling kits to participating locations, including:
three 50mL conical tubes for samples
insulation and ice packs for temperature maintenance and sample integrity
and a pre-paid overnight return shipping label for expedited delivery.
Sample collection and shipping protocols are provided via email and printed on sheets of paper in each kit. If you’d like to preview the kit instructions, you can do so here.
Step 3: A sample from the influent of your wastewater treatment facility is collected using a composite wastewater sample, then safely packaged and returned to Biobot’s lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This is done twice each week through January 2023.
Step 4: Biobot processes the sample, isolating the genetic material (RNA) of SARS-CoV-2, and analyzing the amount of the virus present via qPCR.
Step 5: Biobot expediently sends your results emailed in pdf format, contextualizing data with thousands of samples collected nationwide. Results will also be shared with the CDC and published on the COVID Data Tracker.
Is there a cost associated with participating in the CDC Program NWSS Wastewater Testing Program?
No. The NWSS Program is fully funded by the CDC, and as a participant, you will not incur any charges.
Will I receive results?
Yes. Biobot will share the results directly to your organization in the form of emailed pdf reports. These pdf reports contain the raw concentration of SARS-CoV-2, the effective concentration of SARS-CoV-2, and a time series showing the trends in effective concentration over time at your location. The results will also be shared with the public on the CDC's COVID Data Tracker. CDC NWSS Program participants have the opportunity to opt in to the Biobot website data visualization as well. Please forward any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.