COVID-19 Wastewater Monitoring at UBC


Last updated: June 20, 2022


Wastewater monitoring for COVID-19 involves testing for presence of the fragments of the virus (called SARS-CoV-2 RNA gene fragments) that are shed by both asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals in wastewater. Monitoring wastewater can be a useful tool to monitor community transmission of COVID-19.

UBC and BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) established a partnership to conduct a 4-month pilot program in Winter Term 1 to demonstrate this approach at two UBC student residences— Fairview Crescent and Totem Park. The pilot was successful and the data from this pilot informed appropriate public health responses in partnership with regional health authorities.

Scaling up wastewater monitoring

For Winter Term 2, UBC is scaling up wastewater monitoring to include more of the UBC Vancouver campus community and student residences.

This testing plan would include sampling and analysis of four building-level sampling sites on UBC with sample processing at BCCDC. Three student residences and one public buildings on campus that give a signal on ‘broader’ campus community would be sampled. A technician will deploy and collect passive samplers three times per week, and deliver them to BCCDC for RNA extraction and SARS-CoV-2 quantification. UBC will sequence positive samples to identify genomic variants of concern.

For more information or questions regarding this pilot program, please email