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COVID-19 Wastewater dashboard

Wastewater surveillance
COVID-19

This dashboard was last updated on 19 July 2024 for data week ending 14 July. While it remains a useful source of previous COVID-19 trends, there are no plans to update the dashboard in the foreseeable future.

This dashboard was designed to share ESR’s wastewater science, and help the public track potential COVID-19 risks in their local areas with easy-to-digest data visualisation. It is optimised for both desktop and mobile use.

Wastewater FAQs

Frequently asked questions

About wastewater testing results

ESR conducts testing of samples collected from locations around Aoteaora New Zealand. 

The frequency of sampling has varied depending on the local population, access to wastewater collection points and risk factors.

The results of wastewater samples collected by the Saturday of each week were presented from throughout Aotearoa New Zealand on the dashboard, updated until July 2024.

Sampling methods

The preferred option for wastewater sampling is called the ‘automatic composite sample’. This is where a pump automatically collects a small volume of wastewater every 15 minutes over 24 hours. These are available in some wastewater treatment plants. When composite samples are not available, ‘grab sampling’ may be used which can range from a sample taken at a single point in time, to 3 samples taken over 30 minutes, to samples collected over a day.

What does a ‘detection’ of COVID-19 mean?

A positive detection in the wastewater indicated that at least one person had been shedding COVID-19 into the wastewater in the 24 hours before each sample was collected. Just as a negative finding did not necessarily guarantee an absence of COVID-19 in the community, it should be noted that a positive finding did not necessarily mean that active COVID-19 infections were present in the community. A positive detection in the wastewater could also be due to a case in a managed isolation facility and/or a non-infectious historical case or a non-infectious recently recovered case who was still shedding low levels of COVID-19.

Why wasn't my community included in the wastewater surveillance program?

Locations for sample collection were chosen based on a range of factors including to represent larger population centres, popular holiday towns and risk factors.

Which wastewater treatment plant services my community?

If you are unsure which wastewater treatment plant or facility services your suburb, you should contact your local council.