Detection and treatment of Coronavirus in wastewater

The AQUASEC Center of Excellence for Water Security, established by the IAI, strengthens links between researchers and water authorities in the Americas. At the request of the General Department of Irrigation of the province of Mendoza, Argentina, AQUASEC organized several virtual meetings with experts from the WEST Center (Water, Energy and Sustainable Technology) and the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy of the University of Arizona, USA. The following is noted:
  • The novel coronavirus 2019 has not been detected in water supplies.
  • Untreated sewage has been observed to carry live viruses, including other coronaviruses, and its use in irrigation, especially of green leafy vegetables, should be restricted.  
  • Treatment of wastewater to secondary level is recommended. 
  • RNA remnants of COVID-19 have been found in treated wastewater at levels that are related to the infection in the general population using the sewershed.  
  • Even though this does not represent an infection risk to the public or sanitary workers, the recommended precautions to avoid human bodily contact with treated wastewater should be enforced. 
  • Sampling and detection in wastewater can be seen as a form of early warning of possible disease spread, particularly when nasal and oral sampling for the live virus in humans is limited. 
  • For further information, visit and


Watch the interview with UArizona WEST Center experts: