Wastewater-based surveillance as pandemic preparedness tool (WastPan)



Unit at THL:

Expert Microbiology Unit

WastPan develops preparedness tools for environmental surveillance of infectious agents and antimicrobial resistance circulating in the communities.
Wastewater-based surveillance as pandemic preparedness tool (WastPan portal)

Wastewater process.


The aim of the consortium research is to integrate wastewater-based surveillance of communicable diseases and antimicrobial resistance into the national pandemic preparedness. The specific objectives are to:

  • Establish the detection and quantification methodology for clinically relevant pathogens and MDR bacteria in community wastewater
  • Identify the existing temporal trends and geographical distribution of communicable disease agents in community wastewater
  • Examine the potential of studying metagenome content of wastewater to reveal emerging trends in communicable disease prevalence, and
  • Develop a platform to support the open sharing and utilization environmental data to enable wastewater-based epidemiology.


We explore wastewater samples, their environmental metagenome including viral compartment as well as the genomes of microbial strains to gather population level information about the wastewater-shed infectious agents. As a result, we will elaborate science-based recommendations and strategies for wastewater-based surveillance that ensure preparedness to detect any alarming trends in wastewater-shed microbial hazards at local and national levels.


  • University of Helsinki
  • Tampere university


  • Academy of Finland
  • WastPan is a part of the Academy programme “Pandemics and other crises – responses and preparedness (2021 – 2023)”. More information on the programme and the funded projects are found at Pandemics and Other Crises – Response and Preparedness (RESILIENCE) 2021–2023.
  • Finnish Water Utilities Development Fund
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry
  • Ministry of Environment
  • National Emergency Supply Agency

Project events


Contact information

Tarja Pitkänen
Chief Specialist

Phone +358 29 524 6315

Email: [email protected]