IKT – Institute for Underground Infrastructure

International Roundup of advice on Coronavirus and Sewer Operation

Posted 15. May 2020

(last update 15th May 2020, 16:27 h CET)

two men in front of screen

We are keeping you updated with information concerning the effects of the Coronavirus on sewer and wastewater treatment operations.

In view of the level of interest generated in Germany by the discussions about Coronavirus between the 60+ sewer network owners that are members of KomNetABWASSER / ComNet WasteWater (Community Network WasteWater) the members decided to make resources about corona virus and sewer network operation more widely available. IKT, as co-ordinator of the network, is therefore providing and updating these links to online information available in different countries.

The resources of the KomNetABWASSER / ComNet WasteWater can be accessed at the KomNetABWASSER website.

The international links we have identified so far are listed by country below.

What is available

The information publicly available online relating to sewer network operation comprises:

  • Fact Sheets on the virus and its expected behaviour in water/wastewater
  • Currently mainly inferred from known characteristics of similar viruses
  • Advice on need to prioritise sewer operations
  • Advice on organisation of delivery of services
  • Advice on the protection of staff
  • Discussions on what research is needed
  • News articles on particular topics



  • WHO appears to be the most commonly cited high level Fact Sheet.
  • Most sewerage specific guidance also refers to national public health authority guidance.
  • National water/sewerage associations offer varying degrees of information to members and links to other sources.
  • Those with health and safety committees are providing more detailed guidance, particularly on personal protection for staff.
  • Some water/sewerage associations and companies provide online information for customers, often a fact sheet.


Advice for sewer operation:

  • Being led by national water/sewerage associations and national water industry research organisations
  • Some information from sector regulators
  • In general what is published is high level advice to sewer network owners on actions.
  • Particular focus on health and safety of employees
  • Occasionally more detailed lists of actions are available.


WHO (World Health Organisation)

Water, sanitation, hygiene and waste management for COVID-19 – Technical brief (3rd March 2020)
Technical summary of information on the virus and actions


Advice in Australia

NEW Melbourne Water

Melbourne Water helps lead national sewage testing project in fight against COVID-19 (20th April 2020)
Sample analysis will help inform COVID-19 controls by indicating disease prevalence in the community.

NEW Water Research Australia

Improving current enteric viral surveillance through wastewater monitoring
Fact sheet

NEW Central Highlands Water

Central Highlands Water joins national sewage investigation to support Australia’s coronavirus (COVID-19) response
Fact sheet

Water Services Association of Australia

COVID-19 Fact Sheet (2nd April 2020)
Fact sheet for public on water and wastewater

Water Research Australia

SARS-CoV-2 – Water and Sanitation
Fact sheet for water and sanitation industry


Advice in Austria

NEW ÖWAV (Austrian waste water association)

Abwasserentsorgung trotz Corona-Pandemie gesichert (24th April 2020)
Wastewater disposal secured despite corona pandemic

ÖWAV (Austrian waste water association)

Coronavirus: Informationen für die Betreiber von Abwasseranlagen
Recommendations for sewer network operation

Landeshauptstadt St. Pölten (City of Sankt Pölten)

COVID-19: Ver- und Entsorgung langfristig gesichert (17th March 2020)
Advice note to public on water, waste and sewers


Advice in Belgium

NEW RTBF (Radio-Télévision Belge de la Communauté Française)

Coronavirus : que révèlent nos eaux usées ? (5th May 2020)
Belgian public service broadcasting organisation on what wastewater reveals about the coronavirus


Financiële implicaties van de COVID-19 crisis voor de riolerings- en waterzuiveringssector (10th Aril 2020)
Statement on financial implications for Flemish sewerage and water treatment sector


Advice in Denmark

NEW Danva (Danish Water and Wastewater Association)

Nyt fra medlemmerne: Spildevand kan gøre os klogere på coronavirus (23th April 2020)
“News from members: Sewage can make us smarter about coronavirus”

Danva (Danish Water and Wastewater Association)

Beredskab sikrer danskernes vand og spildevand (12th March 2020)
Actions taken by Danva


Advice from the European Commission

European Commission

Coronavirus response
European Commission response, not sewerage specific

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

National information resources for the public on COVID-19
Webpage with links to each Member State’s National information resources for the public


Advice in Finland

VVY (Finnish Water Utilities Association FIWA)

Vesihuoltolaitokset ovat varautuneet turvaamaan riittävän henkilöstön epidemiatilanteessa
Information and guidelines for water utilities


Advice in France

NEW France Bleu

Forte concentration de coronavirus dans les eaux usées, les égoutiers inquiets pour leur santé (13th May 2020)
French public service radio network on sewage workers worrying about their health because of high concentration of coronavirus in sewage

NEW APSAM – Association paritaire pour la santé et la sécurité du travail, secteur « affaires municipales »

COVID-19 : Spécifications lors de contact avec des eaux usées (12th May 2020)
COVID-19: Wastewater Contact Specifications

NEW France Bleu

Le coronavirus est-il présent dans les eaux usées ? Une étude lancée en Haute-Vienne (8th May 2020)
Is coronavirus present in wastewater? A study launched in Haute-Vienne

NEW Eau de Paris

Nous participons activement à la recherche sur le coronavirus (7th May 2020)
The Paris water and wastewater company about its active involvement in coronavirus research


Advice in Germany

NEW Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung (UFZ)

Integrales SARS-CoV-2-Abwassermonitoring – Team aus Wissenschaftlern und Betreibern von Kläranlagen will aus Abwasserproben auf den SARS-CoV-2-Infektionsgrad der Bevölkerung schließen (8th May 2020)
Team of scientists and operators wants to draw conclusions from wastewater samples about the SARS-CoV-2 infection level of the population

NEW Bayrischer Rundfunk

Frühwarnsystem: Was Abwasser über die Corona-Verbreitung verrät (4th May 2020)
Bavarian public service brodcasting station on detection of Sars-CoV-2 in wastewater in minute quantities before corona infections became known in the region concerned

NEW DWA – Deutsche Vereinigung für Wasser, Abwasser und Abfall (German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste)

Pandemiemaßnahmen in Abwasserbetrieben – Information des DWA-Fachausschusses BIZ-4 „Arbeits- und Gesundheitsschutz“ (20th April 2020)
Pandemic Measures in Sewage Plants – Information of the Technical Committee “Occupational Health and Safety”


Gefährdung durch Coronavirus – SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 bei Arbeiten in abwassertechnischen Anlagen
Handling the risk when working in waste water systems


Kommunales Netzwerk Abwasser (ComNet WasteWater – Municipal Network Wastewater)
Home page of the KomNetABWASSER, author of this web page
Corona-Krise: Abwasserbetriebe teilen Arbeitshilfen
Working aids being shared by KomNet members

Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung DGUV (German Social Accident Insurance)

10 Tipps zur betrieblichen Pandemieplanung
Business planning

Bundesamt für Bevölkerungsschutz und Katastrophenhilfe (Federal Office for Civil Protection)

Handbuch Betriebliche Pandemieplanung
Manual for pandemic planning

BAuA – Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin (Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)

Antworten auf häufig gestellte Fragen zu Tätigkeiten im Gesundheitswesen und in Laboren
Risk assessment waste water operations

Robert Koch-Institut (RKI)

SARS-CoV-2 Steckbrief zur Coronavirus-Krankheit-2019 (COVID-19) – Übertragungswege
Transmission routes

EUWID Wasser und Abwasser (Special interest magazine on water and wastewater)

Multibarrieren-System: Regeln der Technik schützen Trinkwasser vor Coronaviren (17th March 2020)
Multibarrier system protects drinking water from corona viruses


Gefährdung durch Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 bei Arbeiten in abwassertechnischen Anlagen (5th March 2020)
Protection when working in wastewater treatment plants


News from Israel


Tracking coronavirus outbreak through sewage system (5th May 2020)

New methodology to trace the SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) virus through the sewage and wastewater systems


Advice in Italy

NEW Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri ‑ IRCCS

Covid-19: le acque reflue sono indicatori di diffusione (29th April 2020)
About wastewater as an indicator of the diffusion of the coronavirus

ARERA (Regulatory Authority for Energy, Networks and Environment)

Emergenza Covid-19 (11th March 2020)
Statement by regulator

UTILITALIA (Federation of companies operating the public services of water, the environment, electricity and gas)

COVID-19 – Comunicato ARERA dell’11 marzo 2020 (11th March 2020)
Refers to the above

ASPI – Associazione Nazionale Gestori Rifiuti ‑ Manutenzioni e Spurghi reti fognarie ed idriche (National Association of Waste Managers ‑ Maintenance and Drainage of sewerage and water networks)

Coronavirus, acqua e servizi igienico-sanitari (12th March 2020)
Statement on risk and requirements for H&S


Advice in The Netherlands

NEW KWR Water Research Institute

COVID-19 Sewage Surveillance must-reads (13th May 2020)
List of all KWR-publications on SARS-CoV-2 in sewage water

NEW Stichting RIONED (RIONED Foundation)

Podcast Stadswerk: vijf vragen over riolering en corona (11th May 2020)
A podcast answering five questions on sewerage and corona

NEW H2O Online (KNW Waternetwerk)

RIVM test op 29 locaties rioolwater op aanwezigheid coronavirus (11th May 2020)
National Institute testing wastewater for coronavirus

NEW KWR Water Research Institute

Monitoring of coronavirus-RNA (SARS-CoV2) in sewage: an early warning system (8th May 2020)
Monitoring the presence of the Coronavirus in sewage can give an early indication of the contamination within a whole population.

NEW KWR Water Research Institute

Update COVID-19 Sewage research (6th May 2020)
Summary of research results

RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment)

Novel coronavirus found in wastewater (English version)
Article on results of testing in The Netherlands confirming presence of Covid-19 virus in wastewater

Stichting RIONED (RIONED Foundation)

Urban water management and the corona virus (10th March 2020)
Advice on safety

KNW – Koninklijk Nederlands Waternetwerk (Royal Dutch Water Network)

RIONED: Riolering en afvalwaterzuivering cruciale processen bij omgang met coronavirus (17th March 2020)
Article about waterboards postponing bills


Het Coronavirus & afvalwater
Q&A on corona virus in wastewater and surface water in The Netherlands


Advice in Poland

NEW Izba Gospodarcza „Wodociągi Polskie”

Przedsiębiorstwa wodociągowe w walce z koronawirusem
Polish Chamber of Commerce for Water Supply on water supply companies in the fight against coronavirus

Portal Samorzadowy

Koronawirus w ściekach. IGWP zaleca ostrożność (9th March 2020)

Wydawnictwo INŻYNIERIA

Koronawirus: czy jest ryzyko dla pracowników branży wod-kan? (11th March 2020)
Article on risk for employees in the water and sewage industry

Portal Komunalny

Wodociągi: należy lepiej oczyszczać ścieki ze szpitala (17th March 2020)
Article about disinfection of sewage from a hospital


Advice in Spain

NEW iAgua Conocimiento

En directo: Última hora del coronavirus en el sector del agua
A constantly updated collection of links to articles on the effects of coronavirus on the water sector

NEW Valencia Plaza

València, a la caza del coronavirus en las aguas residuales (11th May 2020)
Valencian newspaper on the search for the coronavirus in sewage

NEW EMASESA (Empresa Metropolitana de Abastecimiento y Saneamiento de Aguas de Sevilla)

Las actuales medidas de protección empleadas para trabajar de manera segura con aguas residuales son adecuadas para la protección frente al SARS-CoV-2 (8th May 2020)
“The current protective measures used to work safely with waste water are suitable for protection against SARS-CoV-2”

AEAS (Spanish Association of Water and Sanitation Supplies) and AGA (Spanish Association of Management Companies of Urban Water Services)

AEAS y AGA ponen a disposición del sector varios documentos con recomendaciones y medidas a adoptar ante la crisis del COVID-19
Series of related documents with recommendations and proposals for general measures to be adopted and specific information for water and wastewater


Medidas, datos y recomendaciones de la OMS sobre el conoravirus para el sector del agua (13th March 2020)
Advice to water and sewerage network owners


Agua y coronavirus: medidas a aportar en las instalaciones de aguas residuales (18th March 2020)
Article about the AEAS/AGA advice


Advice in Switzerland

VSA (Swiss Water Association)

Infoblatt zum Corona-Virus – Fiche d’information sur le coronavirus – Opuscolo informativo sul coronavirus
Fact Sheet for sewer networks


Advice in the United Kingdom

NEW Bangor University

What our sewage can reveal about Covid-19 infection rates in the community (11th May 20202
Monitoring the background levels of coronavirus in wastewater treatment works within different areas

NEW University of Stirling

Sewage poses potential COVID-19 transmission risk, experts warn (6th May 2020)
Experts believe the virus could also be spread in wastewater.

UKWIR – UK Water Industry Research

UKWIR Briefing Note on risks posed to the water industry by the newly emergent 2019 novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) (12th February)
Briefing note on risks to water industry

DWI (Drinking Water Inspectorate)

Guidance on Drinking Water Supply Operations in Response to Coronavirus (Covid-19) (6th March 2020)
Drinking water

Public Health England

COVID-19: guidance for employers and businesses (10th March 2020)
General guidance to business

NADC – National Association of Drainage Contractors

Covid-19 Advice
Advice to drainage contractors on continuing to work


Advice in the USA

WRF – The Water Research Foundation

Coronavirus Research Update WEBCAST (12th March 2020)
Links to webcast on corona virus

MWRD – The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Fact Sheet Coronavirus
Fact sheet on risk associated with sewerage

KDHE – Kansas Department of Health and Environment

COVID-19 Water and Wastewater Guidance
Guidance for Drinking Water and Wastewater Operators

OSHA – Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Control and Prevention – Solid Waste and Wastewater
Risk to wastewater treatment operators

tpo Magazine

COVID-19 Guidance for Wastewater Workers (5th March 2020)
Article on information and advice for water and wastewater professionals

of Arizona, Water & Energy Sustainable Technology Center (WEST)

Sewage Surveillance: WEST tests wastewater to determine Coronavirus presence in communities (6th March 2020)
Article on sewage monitoring programme
Sewage Surveillance for Coronavirus
Article on testing sewage for corona virus


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