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The Future of Wastewater Monitoring for the Public Health

This Article thus expands the extant literature by considering the legal and ethical dimensions of wastewater surveillance more thoroughly and more broadly. It arrives at an auspicious time, as the United States moves into a vaccine-mediated phase in which COVID-19 is less likely to give rise to broad stay-at-home orders and more likely to trigger narrower, more targeted interventions. It seeks to offer guidance for the legal and ethical use of wastewater surveillance along two dimensions. The first dimension considers the circumstances under which wastewater monitoring should be deployed for detecting and responding to COVID-19 specifically. The second dimension zooms out, to consider whether and how this surveillance infrastructure, largely created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, might be deployed for other uses, and examines the legal and ethical difficulties that may attend these broader uses.

 Natalie Ram, Professor, University of Maryland Carey School of Law
Lance Gable, Professor, Wayne State University Law School
Jeffrey L. Ram, Professor, Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Wayne State University