What is wastewater testing?

People infected with SARS-CoV2 shed the virus in their feces, often before the onset of symptoms, making wastewater a convenient sample source for monitoring a population in aggregate.

Testing Strategy

Testing wastewater samples from specific areas on campus monitors trends in COVID, including reported and unreported or unknown infections. Trends in viral concentrations in wastewater have already been shown to lead trends in new reported cases within a sewershed by days, enabling detection of rising cases in a particular area.

Test for viral load in feces

Capture actionable samples

Isolate sections of campus

Wastewater Testing

How does it work?

Sample Collecting

100 ml of a 24 hr composite sample are collected at the location

Lab Processing

The virus is concentrated
The RNA is then extracted from the virus
Use RT-qPCR to measure two SARS-coV2 genes and two control genes (one is a fecal indicator and the other is a process control

FAQs for Students/Disclaimers

What is the purpose of wastewater testing?

Sampling wastewater for SARS-CoV-2 is used to detect the presence of covid-19.  Targeted wastewater surveillance can predict spikes in covid levels within the community.  We gain a better understanding of where COVID-19 levels are increasing, which is used to inform pooled sampling testing efforts.  Wastewater testing enables the University to monitor and evaluate trends in infection within the community.

I am a student concerned about symptoms and COVID-19 on campus. Where do I go for more information?


For more information, ask the Student Health and Wellness Advice Nurse. During our regular business hours, call 860-486-4700 and select option 1, then option 2.

What if I feel ill or I experience COVID-19 symptoms?

If you feel ill or are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, for residential and non-residential, graduate and undergraduate students on the Storrs campus, call Student Health and Wellness at 860-486-4700 to obtain a screening and instructions on next steps.


What are symptoms of COVID-19?

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19.


Use the  CDC Self-Checker for an up-to-date list of symptoms and to help you make decisions and seek appropriate medical care.


For general questions about this surveillance program, email: covscreen@uconn.edu. Do not email any personal nor medical information.


For health-related, personal and COVID-19 questions, please contact the Student Health and Wellness Advice Nurse. During our regular business hours, call 860-486-4700 and select option 1, then option 2.