Wastewater Monitoring Success Stories: Riverside, CA

April 4, 2024 - (2 min read)

“Wastewater monitoring is like the movie Minority Report, we know something is going to happen before it does.” –Edward Filadelfia, Deputy Public Works Director, Riverside CA

Movie comparisons aside, wastewater monitoring is an important public health tool for municipalities. You can read our previous blog for more insights about wastewater monitoring. In this blog, we talk with two NLC members who are part of WastewaterSCAN’s national wastewater monitoring program to learn how monitoring wastewater for infectious diseases helps their communities.

We start in Riverside, Calif., home to over 300,000 people and a community known for its orange groves and Victorian homes. Wastewater monitoring has been on the radar of Nicole Greenwood, the City’s Wastewater Resource Analyst, since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Riverside ran a very limited pilot project with the University of California, Riverside, and even looked at the feasibility of building an in-house program. Ultimately, Greenwood found WastewaterSCAN and immediately reached out.

Nicole Greenwood reviewing data on the WastewaterSCAN dashboard

Integrating the program was “effortless,” Greenwood said.

Workers at the Riverside Water Quality Control Plant collect a sample three times a week as part of their normal collection process and send it to WastewaterSCAN’s lab partner for analysis. Samples are tested within 48 hours of arriving at the lab, and the results are posted to wastewaterscan.org within three days. Riverside’s public works team tracks their results against other similar sized California cities and shares the results monthly with local city leaders and public health officials. “Every day, we are doing our job for the public good, and wastewater monitoring helps keep our community healthy,” Robert Eland, Riverside’s Technical and Compliance Manager, sums it up.

Come back tomorrow to learn how a community with a transient population uses wastewater monitoring.

Harnessing Wastewater for Health

Utilize wastewater to detect COVID-19 and other pathogens – expanding access to vital disease detection.

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