Houston Health Department earns CDC designation as Center of Excellence for wastewater epidemiology

Image of downtown Houston with Houston Health Department logo overlay

The Houston Health Department announced today it is now recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a National Wastewater Surveillance System Center of Excellence.

Houston and Colorado are the only jurisdictions so far to have earned the designation.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the department and Rice University began testing the wastewater in May 2020 to more quickly identify emerging outbreaks and hotspots needing interventions to help stop the spread of the virus. 

Researchers, scientists, engineers, and public health professionals from the department, Houston Public Works, Rice University’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and Statistics Department, and early on, Baylor College of Medicine, were all part of developing Houston’s wastewater surveillance system.