Testing for the COVID-19 Virus in Wastewater

Metro Vancouver is working with the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and the University of British Columbia to track the presence of the COVID-19 virus in the region’s wastewater. Untreated wastewater is sampled and tested for the virus three times a week.

What wastewater testing can (and can’t) tell us

Testing wastewater can tell us if the COVID-19 virus is present and how it might be changing over time. This information may help health authorities evaluate the effectiveness of measures to control the virus in the community. Wastewater testing cannot tell us the number of people that are infected or contagious. COVID-19 case information is available through the BC Centre for Disease Control.

Click on a wastewater treatment plant icon  on the map or select a wastewater treatment plant in the dropdown below to see a snapshot of COVID-19 virus trends for that area.

  •     Fraser Sewerage Area (Serviced by Annacis Island)
  •     Fraser Sewerage Area (Serviced by Northwest Langley)
  •     Lulu Sewerage Area
  •     North Shore Sewerage Area
  •    Vancouver Sewerage Area

*No testing was done between December 21 and January 4.

What is the chart showing me?

Each chart shows the amount of COVID-19 virus present per litre of wastewater prior to treatment at one of Metro Vancouver’s five wastewater treatment plants. In August 2021, wastewater testing for the COVID-19 virus increased to three times per week (previously once per week). Results are sorted by sewerage areas, which are defined catchment areas around each wastewater treatment plant. Wastewater from homes and businesses within each area is collected and directed to a specific wastewater treatment plant.

The science of COVID-19 is evolving rapidly. The data shown in the charts should be considered as general trends and not specific daily measurements.

While SARS-CoV-2 can be shed in the feces of people with COVID-19, there is no information to date that anyone has become sick with COVID-19 because of direct exposure to treated or untreated wastewater.