The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) continues to monitor the information we are receiving about the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The MWRD follows the guidelines provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). We’re also consulting with local agencies like the Chicago Department of Public Health, international water professionals, and utility and technology partners in the water sector.
Please see below for additional information concerning the MWRD’s management and treatment of wastewater.
- Video - Wastewater Surveillance in Illinois: Lessons Learned from COVID-19 and Future Directions
- Fact Sheet: Sewage Surveillance: Detecting COVID-19 - April 2022
- Fact Sheet: Biosolids and COVID-19 (Español) - May 12, 2020
- Fact Sheet: Managing flood waters during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (Español) - April 15, 2020
- Fact Sheet: COVID-19 and the Chicago Region's Water Infrastructure (Español) - March 24, 2020
- Fact Sheet: Coronavirus (COVID-19) (Español) - March 13, 2020
- Press Release: "It's a toilet, not a trashcan!"
Resources to help minimize the spread of COVID-19
The CDC continues to recommend the following:
- Practice social distancing by putting space between yourself and others.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Use a cloth face cover to help slow the spread of the virus.
- Celebrating the Holidays
Additional COVID-19 News and Information
City of Chicago
- COVID-19 Wastewater Surveillance - chicago.gov
- City of Chicago - Coronavirus (COVID-19) News and Information
- Chicago Dept of Water Management says tap water is safe to drink, offers additional COVID-19 updates for Chicago resident
- Cook County's Resources and Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Cook County Department of Public Health - Coronavirus (COVID-19)
State of Illinois
- COVID-19 and Wastewater Town Hall May 18, 2021 - Video Presentation
- Featuring Dr. Ngozi O. Ezike, M.D., Illinois Department of Public Health and Mark Grippo, Ecologist, Argonne National Laboratory
- State of Illinois Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response
- State of Illinois COVID-19 Press Briefings
- Illinois Department of Public Health COVID-19 Press Briefings
- Illinois Department of Public Health Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Is it a cold or flu or COVID-19? - Know the Difference (IDPH)
- Social Distancing: What Does it Mean? (IDPH)
- Quarantine Guidance (IDPH)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- CDC - COVID-19 Data Tracker: Water Surveillance
- CDC - National Wastewater Surveillance System
- CDC - Water Transmission and COVID-19
- CDC COVID-19
- CDC Handwashing Guidelines
- CDC COVID-19 and Pets
- Public Transportation and COVID-19
- Cleaning and Disinfecting your Home
- U.S. EPA
- Water Environment Federation (WEF) Current Priority: Coronavirus
- Blue-Ribbon Panel: Coronavirus Risks Low for Wastewater Workers - August 13, 2020
- Residuals and Biosolids Issues Concerning COVID-19 Virus - May 14, 2020
- Coronavirus and Water Systems; An update and expansion on “The Water Professional’s Guide to COVID-19” - May 12, 2020
- What we know about Coronavirus and Water Treatment (WEF) - March 26, 2020
- Illinois Water Environment Association
- National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA)
- American Water Works Association (AWWA)
- Global Water Research Coalition (GWRC) - COVID-19 Virus: Water, Sanitation and Wastewater Management
Research and News
- "The Super Secrets of Sewage," Minute Earth Video - May 9, 2022
- “Reduction and Discharge of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in Chicago-Area Water Reclamation Plants,” Oxford Academic - May 7, 2022
- "Only 48 Out of 102 Illinois Counties Monitoring COVID-19 via Wastewater, But 80% of Population Covered," WTTW Chicago - April 27. 2022
- "CDC to unveil its latest weapon in Covid-19 detection: wastewater," CNN - February 3, 2022
- “The unique place researchers are looking for Covid? Wastewater,” WGN-TV - February 3, 2022
- "Wastewater Surveillance for COVID-19 – A Regional Effort," Rachel Poretsky, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago (Video) - January 28, 2022
- "Human Waste Could Be The Next Big Weapon in Controlling COVID-19," Time - June 18, 2021
- "COVID-19 Vaccines: After the Injection. How will your body respond to the vaccine?," Drug Discovery News - June 1, 2021
"Study will examine whether COVID spread can be tracked through the sewer," WBBM Newsradio - December 31, 2020
- "COVID In Chicago: UIC Researchers Say Sewage Testing Can Zero In On Where Virus Is Surging Worst," CBS Chicago - November 17, 2020
- "Research team lands $1.25M grant to monitor Covid-19 outbreaks in Chicago’s sewage," The Business Journals - October 27, 2020
- "MIT Sloan study shows potential long-term environmental effects from COVID-19," PR Newswire - July 9, 2020
- "The Coronavirus Was Detected In Sewage In March Of 2019, Far From Wuhan, China," Forbes - June 26, 2020
- "Sewage could hold the key to stopping new coronavirus outbreaks," CNN - June 1, 2020
- "Sewage may help predict future virus outbreaks. Chicago researchers aim to test hundreds or thousands of manholes at a time,” Chicago Tribune - May 30, 2020
- “How sewer science could ease testing pressure and track COVID-19,”Reuters - May 14, 2020
- "From the Wastewater Drain, Solid Pandemic Data," New York Times - May 7, 2020
- “Environmental engineers at Stanford discuss how to identify factors affecting COVID-19 transmission,” Stanford News Service - March 26, 2020