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Molecular detection of SARS-CoV-2 from wastewater

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Requisition Forms

Reference Details


RT qPCR surveillance and quantitation of SARS-CoV-2 from wastewater

Test Category:
Molecular Detection
Illnesses and Diseases:
  • Respiratory tract infections
  • COVID-19

Raw sewage, primary influent, primary sludge, effluent, passive sampler media (eluate, filter, membrane)

Collection Method:

Irrespective of sample matrix, 500 mL of composite or grab samples should be sent to PHAC NML as per the shipping guidance below. Ideally, the sample should be maintained at 4°C during collection. The impact of common water/wastewater preservatives has not been assessed and submitters are discouraged from sending preserved samples.  Eluate or whole membranes from passive sampling devices may be submitted provided they are packaged according to the shipping guidance below.

Specimen Processing, Storage and Shipping:

Samples should be sealed in a leak proof primary vessel (no glass) within a sealed secondary container. Secondary container packaging should contain proportional absorbent material in case of leak or spill. All samples should NOT BE FROZEN at any time prior to, or during shipment and should be maintained at 4°C with cold packs (no wet ice). All samples should be specifically marked and identified as environmental or wastewater samples. Please ship samples and cold packs contained within temperature-preserving packaging (styrofoam or hard shell cooler), contained within appropriately sized and labelled cardboard overpack.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods:

Shipping of specimens shall be done by a TDG certified individual in accordance with TDG regulations. For additional information regarding classification of specimens for the purposes of shipping, consult either Part 2 Appendix 3 of the TDG Regulations or section 3.6.2 of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations as applicable.

Patient Criteria:


Accompanying Documentation:

Requisition for Detection of SARS-CoV-2 from Wastewater


Testing is available to Federal, Provincial, Territorial and Municipal  agencies with interests in wastewater testing.  Samples may be submitted by other organizations, however, please contact Dr. Chand S. Mangat ( to assess eligibility.


Any samples not sent within these shipping standards, i.e. leaking or improperly packaged, may be subject to rejection by NML or respective carriers.

Methods and Interpretation of Results:

Quantitative analysis within limits of quantification of CDC SARS-CoV-2 RT qPCR targets N1 and N2. All results are analysed for Pepper Mild Mottle Virus (PMMoV) endogenous control detection for the purpose of signal normalization and QA.

Turnaround Time:

3-5 calendar days.

Phone #: 204-789-6506
Fax: 204-318-2221

CDC Diagnostic Tests for COVID-19

Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (NAATs)

The MIQE guidelines: minimum information for publication of quantitative real-time PCR experiments. Bustin SA, et al. 2009 Apr;55(4):611-22. doi: 10.1373/clinchem.2008.112797.