Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) partnered with Washington State Department of Health (DOH), City of Spokane Riverside Park Water Reclamation Facility, and Spokane County Regional Water Reclamation Facility (SCRWRF) to establish a respiratory illness wastewater monitoring system in Spokane County.


The wastewater surveillance portion of the Respiratory Illness Dashboard provides information on the quantity of SARS-CoV-2, RSV and influenza virus detected in wastewater facilities in Spokane County. Samples collected from these facilities are tested for the presence of viral N genes, which are relatively stable as viruses evolve. The results are then normalized to represent the number of gene copies per day per person served by the facility, using calculations based on virus particles detected, wastewater flow rate, and population size.

This sampling method offers advantages over individual diagnostic testing. The data collected is shared with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to contribute to their wastewater surveillance data, aiding in assessing public health measures and national trends.

Why is Wastewater Monitoring Important?

Wastewater monitoring is a valuable tool for public health and community leaders, enabling them to simultaneously monitor entire communities and gain crucial situational awareness regarding respiratory illness trends in Spokane County. This approach complements the epidemiological data derived from individual diagnostic testing.

By employing wastewater monitoring, changes in community viral load can be detected before they become apparent in diagnostic test results. This is primarily due to logistical factors associated with individuals seeking testing, awaiting results, or delayed reporting. Wastewater monitoring, in conjunction with state-reported testing trends, allows public health authorities to better serve and inform the community.

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More Information

CDC National Wastewater Surveillance System (NWSS)