Systematic wastewater surveillance focused on detection of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants has been introduced in several countries around the world. Wastewater surveillance on presence of SARS-Cov-2 has been launched in the Slovak Republic in 2021 and is carried out regularly on weekly basis in each region of Slovakia. Wastewater surveillance is divided into two phases. The first phase started on May 2 2021 (18th calendar week) and 11 wastewater treatment (WWTPS) plants with the largest capacity took part in this phase. From January 2022, the second phase of the project started at the sites with expansion of wastewater surveillance in several districts. In the 2nd phase of the project, WWTPS cover the areas inhabited by marginalized groups, tourist, spa and border areas. More than 55 WWTPs have been included so far into the project.

In addition to the expansion of WWTP’s network since January 2022 there has also been an increase in the laboratory capacity that carries out pre-analytical part.

The pre-analytical part is covered by 6 laboratories namely National Reference Centre (NRC) for microbiology at department of Environment of Public Health Authority of the Slovak Republic (PHA SR), PHA SR’s regional laboratories in Trencin, Nitra, Banska Bystrica, Presov and Kosice. Analytical part is carried out by NRC for microbiology at PHA SR’s department of Environment in Bratislava. At the beginning of 2022, NRC for Environmental microbiology at PHA SR in the Slovak Republic began to cooperate in sequencing samples with Centre of Scientific and Technical Information of the Slovak Republic (CVTI SR) and Comenius University Science Park (CU SP).

Goals of Wastewater surveillance in the Slovak Republic:

  • Early warning – signaling the outbreak of epidemic waves,
  • Trend analysis,
  • Surveillance of the effectiveness of the measures in place
  • Surveillance of virus variants.  

Methodology of sampling and sample processing:

Wastewater sampling is safeguarded by the employees of regional public health offices in involved districts cooperating with WWTP’s employees. One sample (in case of need two samples) is collected at the inflow to the WWTP weekly. The sample is poured for 24 hours meanwhile the volume of sample is 1l. After sample collection, its earliest transport to the laboratory in +4 °C cold chain is important. The presence of virus in wastewater samples is determined by RT-PCR and digital dd-PCR methods.

Networking with DG Joint Research Centre

We closely cooperate and consult the situation on monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants  with ECDC, DG Joint Research Centre and have regular attendance at Jour Fixe meetings of National Contact Points  and IT contact points organized by EC DG JRC.   Our national dashboard is placed on the website of  EU Sewage Sentinel System for SARS-CoV-2  EU4S (

Grants and Actions

EU - Funded by the European Union

Support to the Member States to establish national systems, local collection points, and digital infrastructure for monitoring Covid 19 and its variants in waste waters
Grant Emergency support under EU Council Regulation (EU)  2016/369 as amended by Council Regulation (EU) 2020/521
Grant Agreement for an action under the emergency support instrument, agreement number – 060701/2021/864558/SUB/ENV.C2

Monobeneficiary, the Public Health Authority of the Slovak Republic, will carry out the Action by supervising the national waste water surveillance system aimed at collection of data on SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. Systematic waste water surveillance for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 variants means regular collection of samples on a weekly basis from designated waste water treatment plants across the Slovak Republic with a follow-up RT-PCR and ddPCR analysis in the National Reference Centre for Environmental Microbiology of the Public Health Authority of the Slovak Republic.
Introduction and development of sequencing methods within waste water monitoring is anticipated throughout the Action due to which the existing research activities will be transformed into a permanent surveillance system.
The action runs from 08/07/2021 and including 31/8/2022,
Total eligible costs of the action: 245 458,71 EUR,
Total EU contribution: 245 458,71 EUR

Wastewater surveillance monitoring

Sewage network in Slovakia

Sewage network in Slovakia

wastewater serveilla