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Accounting for Dilution of SARS-CoV-2 in Wastewater Samples Using Physico-Chemical Markers

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School of Mathematics, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF24 4AX, UK
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Water Research Institute, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3AX, UK
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School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3AX, UK
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Environment Centre Wales, Bangor University, Bangor LL57 2UW, UK
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SoilsWest, Centre for Sustainable Farming Systems, Food Futures Institute, Murdoch University, Murdoch, WA 6105, Australia
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Welsh Government, Cardiff CF10 3NQ, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: John Zhou
Water 2022, 14(18), 2885; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14182885
Received: 4 August 2022 / Revised: 9 September 2022 / Accepted: 13 September 2022 / Published: 15 September 2022
(This article belongs to the Section Wastewater Treatment and Reuse)
Most sewer networks collect domestic wastewater and a variable proportion of extraneous water, such as rainwater, through surface runoff and industrial discharges. Accounting for wastewater dilution is essential to properly quantify wastewater particle loads, whether these are molecular fragments of SARS-CoV-2, or other substances of interest such as illicit drugs or microplastics. This paper presents a novel method for obtaining real-time estimates of wastewater dilution and total daily volume through wastewater treatment works, namely when flow data is not available or unreliable. The approach considers the levels of several physico-chemical markers (ammonia, electrical conductivity, and orthophosphate) in the wastewater against their dry-weather levels. Using high-resolution data from the national Wastewater Surveillance Programme of Wales, we illustrate how the method is robust to spikes in markers and can recover peaks in wastewater flow measurements that may have been capped by hydraulic relief valves. We show the method proves effective in normalising SARS-CoV-2 viral loads in wastewater samples and discuss other applications for this method, looking at wastewater surveillance as a vital tool to monitor both human and environmental health. View Full-Text
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; wastewater; wastewater-based epidemiology; flow normalisation; wastewater dilution; One Health SARS-CoV-2; wastewater; wastewater-based epidemiology; flow normalisation; wastewater dilution; One Health
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wilde, H.; Perry, W.B.; Jones, O.; Kille, P.; Weightman, A.; Jones, D.L.; Cross, G.; Durance, I. Accounting for Dilution of SARS-CoV-2 in Wastewater Samples Using Physico-Chemical Markers. Water 2022, 14, 2885. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14182885

AMA Style

Wilde H, Perry WB, Jones O, Kille P, Weightman A, Jones DL, Cross G, Durance I. Accounting for Dilution of SARS-CoV-2 in Wastewater Samples Using Physico-Chemical Markers. Water. 2022; 14(18):2885. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14182885

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wilde, Henry, William Bernard Perry, Owen Jones, Peter Kille, Andrew Weightman, Davey L. Jones, Gareth Cross, and Isabelle Durance. 2022. "Accounting for Dilution of SARS-CoV-2 in Wastewater Samples Using Physico-Chemical Markers" Water 14, no. 18: 2885. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14182885

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