Wastewater Surveillance

The Loxahatchee River District (LRD) is conducting Wastewater Surveillance to monitor trends of infection rates of specific viruses/pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), Influenza, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and Monkeypox, within our sewer system area.  LRD’s sewer system serves approximately 100,000 people in northern Palm Beach and southern Martin Counties.

Wastewater, or sewage, is water from our toilets, shower, and sinks and contains human waste.  This wastewater is pumped to and treated at LRD’s Wastewater Treatment Facility.  LRD is working with Biobot Analytics and WastewaterSCAN, both leaders in molecular testing of wastewater to assess the prevalence of virus genetic fragments in our untreated wastewater samples collected over a 24hr period at LRD’s Treatment Facility.

Virus fragments are shed from people infected with the virus, including both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals.  Because people shed huge amounts of SARS-CoV-2 early in their infection, even before symptoms, wastewater surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 virus fragments is a proven early indicator of COVID-19 infection rates in a community. Research has shown the relative abundance of SARS-CoV-2 virus fragments in wastewater samples correlates with and precedes clinical cases within the community by 3 to 10 days. Thus, Wastewater Surveillance is a leading indicator of infection rates, and monitoring is now expanding to Influenza, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), and 9 other pathogens.

LRD’s testing of SARS-CoV-2 started with Biobot in May 2020. Between August 8, 2022 and September 15, 2023, LRD was part of the CDC’s National Wastewater Surveillance System (NWSS) in partnership with Biobot to test twice weekly, typically Monday and Wednesday.  The CDC awarding the NWSS contract to WastewaterSCAN.  Biobot continues to test once per week as a courtesy to maintain data continuity.  LRD typically collects the sample on Monday and results are posted upon receipt, usually Wednesday or Thursday.

As of September 14, 2022, LRD is part of WastewaterSCAN, a partnership of scientists from Stanford University, Emory University, and Verily – the life sciences division of Alphabet (formerly Google). The goal of WastewaterSCAN is to create a national system that informs public health discussions for COVID-19, Influenza, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), and now 9 other pathogens.  Sampling occurs three times per week, typically Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Below we provide graphical summaries of virus fragment concentrations from both WastewaterSCAN and Biobot for our sewer service area that generally overlaps with zip codes 33458, 33477 and 33469.  Also below are links to more information, our proposed sampling schedule, and Biobot’s Laboratory Reports.

Visualization Navigation:

  • To view the panel of charts full screen, click on the double arrows on the lower right of the charts panel.  Press Esc to exit full screen.
  • To expand a single chart, hover on the chart, then click on the square with arrow in the upper right of the chart (named Focus mode), or for a mobile device tap on the chart.  To return to the panel of charts, click on the Back to Report button on the upper left.
  • See additional figures using the page selector at the bottom center of the visualization window.


Program and Results Links:

LRD Program Notes:

  • Wastewater results from Biobot updated upon receipt; Monday’s sample results are typically published Wednesday or Thursday.
  • Results from the WastewaterSCAN program are automatically updated each morning at approximately 5am.
  • Because of variability in the data (e.g. rainfall, visitors, etc.) the CDC and other scientists advise the public look at general trends in the data, rather than the specific concentration of virus. The WastwaterSCAN results are presented with smoothed data – see notes on the data visualization pane above.

Biobot’s Laboratory Reports

May 5, 2020May 11, 2020May 17, 2020May 25, 2020
June 15, 2020July 14, 2020August 11, 2020September 10, 2020
October 15, 2020October 29, 2020November 16, 2020November 30, 2020
December 14, 2020December 28, 2020January 11, 2021January 25, 2021
February 8, 2021February 22, 2021March 8, 2021March 22, 2021
April 5, 2021April 19, 2021May 3, 2021May 17, 2021
June 1, 2021June 15, 2021July 12, 2021July 26, 2021
August 9, 2021August 23, 2021September 7, 2021September 20, 2021
October 4, 2021October 18, 2021November 1, 2021November 15, 2021
December 6, 2021December 20, 2021January 3, 2022January 18, 2022
February 7, 2022February 21, 2022March 7, 2022March 21, 2022
April 4, 2022April 18, 2022May 2, 2022May 16, 2022
June 6, 2022June 21, 2022July 5, 2022July 18, 2022
August 1, 2022August 8, 2022August 10, 2022August 15, 2022
August 17, 2022August 22, 2022August 24, 2022August 29, 2022
August 31, 2022September 6, 2022September 7, 2022September 12, 2022
September 14, 2022September 26, 2022September 28, 2022October 3, 2022
October 5, 2022October 10, 2022October 12, 2022October 17, 2022
October 19, 2022October 24, 2022October 26, 2022October 31, 2022
November 2, 2022November 7, 2022November 14, 2022November 16, 2022
November 21, 2022November 28, 2022November 30, 2022December 5, 2022
December 7, 2022December 12, 2022December 14, 2022December 19, 2022
December 26, 2022January 2, 2023January 4, 2023January 9, 2023
January 11, 2023January 16, 2023January 19, 2023January 24, 2023
January 25, 2023January 30, 2023February 1, 2023February 6, 2023
February 8, 2023February 13, 2023February 15, 2023February 20, 2023
February 22, 2023February 27, 2023March 1, 2023March 6, 2023
March 8, 2023March 13, 2023March 15, 2023March 20, 2023
March 22, 2023March 25, 2023March 27, 2023April 3, 2023
April 5, 2023April 10, 2023April 12, 2023April 17, 2023
April 19, 2023April 24, 2023April 26, 2023May 1, 2023
May 3, 2023May 8, 2023May 10, 2023May 15, 2023
May 17, 2023May 22, 2023May 24, 2023May 31, 2023
June 5, 2023June 7, 2023June 12, 2023June 14, 2023
June 19, 2023June 21, 2023June 26, 2023July 3, 2023
July 5, 2023July 10, 2023July 12, 2023July 17, 2023
July 19, 2023July 24, 2023July 26, 2023July 31, 2023
August 2, 2023New data format - CSV Files.
Latest file: February 29, 2024.zip

Please Note:  As of August 9, 2023 the Biobot results are provided in .csv data file and visualizations are available from Biobot at: https://biobot.io/data/#county-12099

For more information please contact Bud Howard, Director of Information Services, at bud.howard@lrecd.org or (561) 401-4037.