Wastewater Monitoring

The Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) conducted a wastewater monitoring pilot program from January 2023 through April 2024. The goal of the project was to better understand levels of community transmission of COVID-19. After April 2024, DDPHE is no longer monitoring wastewater on a hyper-local level, however the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment is continuing their monitoring efforts. Wastewater monitoring data for Denver County is available on the CDPHE dashboard (select “Metro Wastewater Platte/Central”).

Why We Tested Wastewater

People infected with COVID-19 can shed the virus in their feces, even if they don’t have symptoms. The virus can then be detected in wastewater, allowing wastewater surveillance to see the presence of COVID-19 shed by people with and without symptoms. This allows wastewater surveillance to serve as an early warning that COVID-19 is spreading in a community.

How We Tested Wastewater

Over the course of the program, sampling was conducted at the building-level and sewershed (the community area served by a wastewater collection system) level. Samples were collected twice a week by DDPHE staff and tested for COVID-19 genetic material. Trends from these data points were used to determine if infections were increasing, steady or decreasing.

Additional Information