Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering

Degree Level



Biological and Agricultural Engineering


Zhang, Wen

Committee Member/Reader

Haggard, Brian

Committee Member/Second Reader

Ganio, Matthew


Because SARS-CoV-2, a coronavirus, is released in the fecal shedding of covid-positive patients, the virus enters the municipal waste stream and flows to wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). The goal of this research is to quantify the effectiveness of wastewater treatment processes at removing SARS-CoV-2 from wastewater and preventing its release into the environment. Sampling at Paul R. Noland and West Side WWTPs in Fayetteville, Arkansas, took place from August 2020 to May 2021, and samples were tested for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 using N1 and N2 primers via RT-qPCR. Sampling days which returned positive detection of one or both of the target genes in the wastewater influent were assessed for log removal of viruses between the influent and final effluent. Sampling after intermediary treatment steps was completed to assess the efficacy of specific treatment components at removing the virus. While the complete treatment processes at both plants were able to reduce the virus to below the detection limit of this study, primary clarification did not reduce target gene concentrations consistently to below the detection limit. Further research with a surrogate virus may be necessary for finding the maximum capabilities of viral removal for these treatment processes.


covid 19, wastewater treatment, virus treatment, northwest arkansas, water