Developing a Wastewater Coronavirus Surveillance System for New York State

Presentation Date: Tuesday, June 23, 2020
-The first 3.5 minutes of the webinar recording are audio only. Presentations begin at 3.5 minutes.
–Certificates of completion are provided only to those who registered and participated in the webinar on its original broadcast date.

Tracking infectious disease transmission through wastewater has been an important tool for safeguarding public health for 25 years. Recent scientific breakthroughs show that levels of coronavirus genetic material in sewer systems predict cases a week sooner than incident cases seen in the health system. 

In this 75-minute webinar, experts from Syracuse University, Cornell, and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry will introduce their pilot project for tracking levels of coronavirus RNA in New York’s sewer systems. Tracking RNA will provide an advanced warning of an increase in coronavirus transmission in a geographically-targeted area and warn of an incoming surge in cases and hospitalizations. These measures will also help us identify areas where the virus is spreading, waning, or absent.

Ask questions during our facilitated discussion about safe and effective real-time monitoring of coronavirus RNA in wastewater, and learn how this surveillance method can help guide us through the process of reopening the state.

This webinar is organized by Syracuse University Environmental Finance Center, New York Water Environment Association (NYWEA) and the New York State Water Resources Institute at Cornell University.

Presenters and Panelists

  • David Larsen, Associate Professor, Public Health, Falk College, Syracuse University
  • Hyatt Green, Assistant Professor, Environmental and Forest Biology, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry 
  • Anthony Hay, Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology, Agricultural & Life Sciences, Cornell University


  • Seth Jensen, Director, Municipal Utilities, City of Auburn, NY
  • Teng Zeng, Assistant Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Syracuse University
  • Kristen Hychka, Research & Outreach Specialist, New York State Water Resources Institute, Cornell University
  • Rassil Sayess, Research & Outreach Specialist, New York State Water Resources Institute, Cornell University

Facilitation from Syracuse University Environmental Finance Center

This webinar is based upon work supported under a grant by the Rural Utilities Service, United States Department of Agriculture.