Detecting & Monitoring COVID-19 Using Wastewater-Based Epidemiology (WBE)

Thursday, June 4, 2020 at 2:00 p.m.

Who Should attend?


Who Should attend?

Anyone responsible for the municipal water/wastewater services and who is interested in being involved in an exciting research project that can help your community through early detection and monitoring of wastewater for COVID-19. If you want to make a difference and participate in pilot-scale testing within your wastewater facilities to determine the feasibility of detecting COVID-19 signatures.



The research at McMaster University is being conducted in partnership with a consortium of wastewater testing practitioners across Ontario, including all sizes of municipalities, remote communities and first nations. The intent is to collaboratively investigate, using Wastewater-Based Epidemiology (WBE) approaches, to see if particular components in wastewater and the wastewater network and processes can be used/modified as biomarkers for early COVID-19 detection in Ontario. This includes communities that are remote or underserved by health care workers, and can help track the disease magnitude, at community level, in patients with mild-symptoms or asymptomatic. This will fill a gap needed to estimate the “total” community disease spread using non-invasive and passive testing approach, without the need to identify persons or households.

Periodic monitoring of sewage systems could provide a real-time alert for a community when the coronavirus has emerged but not yet fully detected and inform decision-makers in Ontario to undertake dynamic measures and appropriate response as well as allocate resources, accordingly.

Webinar HostKathy Vassilakos, Member of Stratford City Council; Vice President, OMWA

Webinar Presenters:

Dr. Gail Krantzberg, McMaster University. 
Dr. Krantzberg is Professor of Engineering and Public Policy in the Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology at McMaster University offering Canada’s first Master’s Degree in Engineering and Public Policy. Gail completed her M.Sc. and Ph.D. at the University of Toronto in environmental science and freshwaters.  She worked for the Ontario Ministry of Environment from 1988 to 2001, as Coordinator of the Collingwood Harbour Remedial Action Plan, and Senior Policy Advisor on Great Lakes. She is past-president of the International Association of Great Lakes Research, Board Member of the Canadian Water Foundation,  member of the International Joint Commission’s Science Advisory Board, among others.  Dr. Krantzberg was the Director of the Great Lakes Regional Office of the International Joint Commission from 2001 to 2005. She has edited and co-authored 9 books and more than 200 scientific and policy articles on issues pertaining to ecosystem quality and sustainability and is a frequent speaker to media and the public.  When not on the job, she enjoys family, photography, gardening and peace in the woods.


Dr.Zobia Jawed (Ph.D., M.Eng.), McMaster University.
Dr. Zobia Jawed is a researcher (Co-Principal Investigator) and faculty lead for engineering design/policy projects at W. Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology, McMaster University. Zobia completed her Bachelor’s degree at McMaster University, Master’s of Civil Engineering at University of Toronto, Ph.D. at McMaster University, and Post-Doctoral Fellowship jointly between University of Waterloo and McMaster University. Zobia is well-known expert in wastewater systems and technologies and has over a decade of expertise in water/wastewater systems/testing and operations. Zobia has traveled throughout Ontario’s waste/wastewater systems to provide expertise and training to operators and lab staff for optimization of systems and testing methods. Zobia is currently serving as a Board of Director, appointed by Hamilton City Council, at Conservation Halton. Before joining McMaster University, Zobia worked at the Region of Halton, Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Hospital for SickKids, Mohawk College, and University of Toronto. Zobia is an active community volunteer serving as School Council Chair, Board of Director at various community youth development initiatives while taking care of her own two kids.


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