• Project No 2085
  • Project Name Knowledge synthesis of the Victorian Sewage Surveillance Program for SARS-CoV-2
  • Lead Organisation Department of Health Victoria
  • Research Lead Department of Health Victoria
  • Main Researcher Dr Monica Nolan
  • Completion Year 2024

Project Description

During the SARS-CoV-2 global pandemic, the Victorian Department of Health developed the most comprehensive and extensive program of sewage surveillance in Australia. In collaboration with the water industry, researchers and laboratories facilitated by the Water Research Australia lead AU-NZ Collaboration on Sewage Surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 (ColoSSoS), real-time applied research was undertaken to develop appropriate sampling, analytic and reporting methods in a low SARS-CoV-2 incidence setting that provided timely actionable data for public health responses.

In the later high incidence settings, wastewater surveillance provided quantitative and variant trends as well as key input for modelling to project future case loads. While some information was able to be shared freely at the time through seminars and international workshops, the formal documentation of findings and lessons learned did not occur due to work pressures. Given the loss of institutional knowledge within the Victorian Department of Health and the innovative public health applications of this adaptive program, there is a need to capture the experience and learnings from the Victorian Sewage Surveillance Program to mitigate the risk that organisational and nationally and internationally significant knowledge will be lost.

Furthermore, this information will be vital to illustrate the value proposition of wastewater surveillance and to inform and optimise the design of robust wastewater surveillance programs for SARS-CoV-2 and other pathogens in state or national programs in Australia as well as other global settings.