Public Perception of Wastewater Monitoring for SARS-CoV-2 in Louisville, Kentucky

Although widespread testing for SARS-CoV-2 virus has been conducted in the nasal cavity and antibodies in the blood, individuals infected with SARS CoV-2 may shed the virus in their stool. An abundance of the virus in wastewater has correlated with community infection levels, since the early stages of the pandemic.

J. Michael Brick, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, co-authored an article, Public Awareness of and Support for the Use of Wastewater for SARS-CoV‑2 Monitoring: A Community Survey in Louisville, Kentucky (PDF) in ACS ES&T Water, that presented results from a survey in August 2021 as part of an ongoing COVID-19 community prevalence study in Louisville/Jefferson County, Kentucky. The survey comprised seven questions about public awareness of and support for SARS-CoV-2 monitoring in community wastewater and was sent to households randomly distributed within the county. Based on the findings, opinions strongly support the public disclosure of monitoring results. Public perception of wastewater monitoring is important as communities budget and set aside resources to focus on future health initiatives.

As wastewater monitoring continues to evolve, the results may provide an understanding of how public health monitoring through an existing sewer infrastructure is perceived by community members being monitored.

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