Standardizing data reporting in the research community to enhance the utility of open data for SARS-CoV-2 wastewater surveillance


Jill McClary-Gutierrez, University of Notre Dame
Zachary T. Aanderud, Brigham Young University
Mitham Al-Faliti, Howard University
Claire Duvallet, Biobot Analytics
Rual Gonzalez, Hampton Roads Sanitation District
Joe Guzman, Orange County Public Health
Rochelle H. Holm, University of Louisville
Michael A. Jahne, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Rose S. Kantor, University of California - Berkeley
Panagis Katsvillis, Venthic Technologies
Katrin Gaardbo Kuhn, University of Oklahoma
Laura M. Langaen, University of California - Berkeley
Cresten Mansfeldt, University of Colorado Boulder
Sandra L. McLellan, University of Wisconsin - MilwaukeeFollow
Lorelay M. Mendoza Grijalva, Stanford University
Kevin S. Murnane, Louisiana State University - Shreveport
Colleen C. Naughton, University of California, Merced
Aaron I. Packman, Northwestern University
Sotirios Paraskevopoulos, KWR Water Research Institute
Tyler S. Radniecki, Oregon State University
Fernando A. Roman Jr., University of California, Merced
Abhilasha Shrestha, University of Illinois at Chicago
Lauren B. Stadler, Rice University
Joshua A. Steele, Southern California Coastal Water Research Project
Brian M. Swalla, IDEXX Laboratories
Peter Vikesland, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Brian Wartell, University of Maryland at Baltimore
Carol J. Wilusz, Colorado State University - Fort Collins
Judith Chui Ching Wong, Environmental Health Institute, National Environment Agency, Singapore
Alexandria B. Boehm, Stanford University
Rolf U. Halden, Arizona State University
Kyle Bibby, University of Notre Dame
Jeseth Delgado VelaFollow

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SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection in wastewater is being rapidly developed and adopted as a public health monitoring tool worldwide. With wastewater surveillance programs being implemented across many different scales and by many different stakeholders, it is critical that data collected and shared are accompanied by an appropriate minimal amount of meta-information to enable meaningful interpretation and use of this new information source and intercomparison across datasets. While some databases are being developed for specific surveillance programs locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally, common globally-adopted data standards have not yet been established within the research community. Establishing such standards will require national and international consensus on what meta-information should accompany SARS-CoV-2 wastewater measurements. To establish a recommendation on minimum information to accompany reporting of SARS-CoV-2 occurrence in wastewater for the research community, the United States National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Coordination Network on Wastewater Surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 hosted a workshop in February 2021 with participants from academia, government agencies, private companies, wastewater utilities, public health laboratories, and research institutes. This report presents the primary two outcomes of the workshop: (i) a recommendation on the set of minimum meta-information that is needed to confidently interpret wastewater SARS-CoV-2 data, and (ii) insights from workshop discussions on how to improve standardization of data reporting.