Over the past two years, researchers have turned to wastewater to find out more about the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic. In September of 2020 the CDC developed the National Wastewater Surveillance System (NWSS) to help monitor and better understand the spread of COVID-19 throughout communities. The NWSS works directly with public health departments to track the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the wastewater of communities across the country. They are able to do this because humans infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus shed the virus in their feces making it detectable within community wastewater systems. The CDC has been able to gather a large amount of data because 80 percent of households in the United States are served by municipal wastewater collection systems. Wastewater surveillance programs have been implemented across the country in places like Utah , Washington D.C. , Massachusetts , Connecticut , and Illinois . Programs have also been implemented internationally . Wastewater surveillance technology has proven to be very beneficial to communities because it is able to detect the virus even before people start showing symptoms. This is helpful because once health departments are aware, communities can immediately take stricter precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. You can stay up to date on the presence of COVID-19 in your community by checking the COVID Data Tracker which provides regularly updated information on the presence of SARS-CoV-2 levels in wastewater at testing sites across the country.