Faculty Advisor

Burgard, Daniel

Area of Study

Science and Mathematics

Publication Date

Summer 2021


Wastewater-based epidemiology is a relatively new study in public health that helps with tracking transportation, pollution, viruses, and drug use. Population results for wastewater-based epidemiology have been biased in the fact that the information has mostly come from surveys, hospital records, and criminal records, which doesn’t cover a generous amount of people in an area. Some studies used metabolites, which break down in sewage after a period of time, and lack stability. In other studies, population was reported in estimates, using grams/1000 people/day. However, a study in Australia was conducted with 96 possible population biomarkers, in which 14 stable compounds were noted to be accurate population biomarkers. This data was then compared to population data from the Australian Census. Studies were also seen using GPS tracking to attempt to track the movements of people throughout a city for more accurate numbers. In the United States, specifically in Washington State, we chose to use six population biomarkers: lisinopril, sucralose, acesulfame, hydrochlorothiazide, caffeine, and gabapentin, all of which are highly prescribed in the US. The data will then be compared to US Census city population data from 2020 and cellular device data from the six cities being studied in Washington state.


National Institutes of Health: National Institute on Drug Abuse Award


University of Puget Sound