Understanding and managing uncertainty and variability for wastewater monitoring beyond the pandemic: Lessons learned from the United Kingdom National COVID-19 Surveillance Programmes

  • Behnam Firoozi Nejad

Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

Period14 Aug 2021

Media contributions


Media contributions

  • TitleVolant Media UK Ltd
    Degree of recognitionInternational
    Media name/outletVolant Media UK Ltd
    Media typeTelevision
    Duration/Length/Size12 minutes
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    DescriptionThe show is in Farsi language!
    Regardless I am not a translator (not even close) I did my best for the part which was about our work (wastewater monitoring for COVID-19 surveillance) in the text below:

    [HU]Man, Earth, Tomorrow

    Homayoun Kheyri:

    Virus detection in wastewater, a new lesson for COVID management in the UK. An article from Earth and Space Science Open Archive (ESSOAr) is selected for today. The article is: Understanding and managing uncertainty and variability for wastewater monitoring beyond the pandemic: Lessons learned from the United Kingdom National COVID-19 Surveillance Programmes.
    This article is written by 30 scientists in the UK, and explaining how wastewater surveillance can help to identify the outbreak of COVID-19. Scientists has made a dashboard using wastewater surveillance data which is providing a better picture of the COVID-19 situation in the UK.
    Dr Behnam Firoozi Nejad, Geodata scientist form Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) who is one of the authors is going to explain how the system works [regarding the use of Geographically Information System (GIS)]:

    Behnam Firoozi Nejad:

    This project is very extensive and is being done on a large scale. Therefore, without spatial data analysis it is difficult to do the project, and this is where the role of geodata scientists becomes clearer. Spatial data or geodata are data with geographic coordinates. For example, the level of COVID-19 in each area, population of particular locations, the entire wastewater network in digital format [provided by NI Water], etc.
    At the university [Queen’s University Belfast] we designed a GIS system which can identify the most suitable locations for wastewater sampling test. In other words, how maximum population can be covered by minimum number of wastewater sampling test [in Northern Ireland]. The main reason for that is, sampling, transport to the lab and testing them in the lab is time consuming and costly and it needs resources. Therefore, identifying the most suitable places in a smart/scientific way can help us to cover highest possible population in the area with the lowest feasible resources.
    Furthermore, we developed the GIS system and made a GIS Reporting Tool. The development of a GIS Reporting Tool enables integration of public health data with environmental surveillance for the community monitoring of COVID-19 levels. And provides a dashboard with interactive maps, and graphs which displays the near real time analysis results of sampling locations [in Northern Ireland] and then the relevant project partners [include the Public Health Agency (PHA), Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), Department of Health (DoH), etc] can make better decisions regarding COVID-19. The COVID-19 wastewater surveillance GIS dashboard enables public health users to see current hotspots outbreaks of COVID-19 and offers an early-warning system to aid decision making around the location of future rapid testing facilities [in NI].
    Producer/AuthorBehnam Firoozi Nejad
    PersonsBehnam Firoozi Nejad