Sewer Line Evaluation to Improve UNH COVID-19 Monitoring


Preview Converted Images may contain errors


The University of New Hampshire implemented the UNH Wastewater-Based Epidemiology Program during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic to assist the nasal swab testing program in tracking the number of infected individuals present on campus. This program can provide information on the rough number of individuals in a building that are infected with the virus quickly using samples collected from the building’s wastewater. While this method for COVID-19 monitoring has proven successful for most of the campus, several residence halls continuously produce results that underrepresent the number of COVID-19 cases in the building when compared to the results from the nasal swab testing program. The task of this research group was to uncover the reason for this discrepancy by analyzing the flow characteristics of the sewer lines connected to these buildings. To do this, dye-tracer tests were conducted in two residence halls on campus, Hubbard and Stoke Hall. Unlike Stoke Hall, the wastewater samples analyzed from Hubbard Hall have proven to be effective at predicting the number of active COVID-19 cases in the building. The sewer lines connected to this building were analyzed as a control that could be compared to the results from the dye-tracer tests conducted at Stoke Hall. Tracer studies performed in this research involved the use of a camera system that was placed in a nearby manhole to capture video of the dye as it moved through the sewer system. The data collected from these tests were then analyzed in MATLAB using image processing tools to produce graphs that visually show how the flow in the two buildings differs. The results from this research were presented to the UNH Wastewater-Based Epidemiology Program to further their efforts in effectively tracking the spread of COVID-19 on the UNH campus.


First Name Last Name
Sarah Boisvert
Devon Mexcur
Bailey Jones

File Count: 1

Leave a comment

Comments are viewable only by submitter

Submission Details

Conference URC
Event Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering (ISE)
Department Civil and Environmental Engineering (ISE)
Group Research
Added April 17, 2022, 8:54 p.m.
Updated April 18, 2022, 8:54 a.m.
See More Department Presentations Here