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Wastewater catchment areas in Great Britain
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  • Till Hoffmann,
  • Sarah Bunney,
  • Barbara Kasprzyk-Hordern,
  • Andrew Singer
Till Hoffmann
Imperial College London, Imperial College London

Corresponding Author:t.hoffmann@imperial.ac.uk

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Sarah Bunney
Imperial College London, Imperial College London
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Barbara Kasprzyk-Hordern
University of Bath, University of Bath
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Andrew Singer
UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
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Abstract

Wastewater catchment area data are essential for wastewater treatment capacity planning and have recently become critical for operationalising wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) for COVID-19. Owing to the privatised nature of the water industry in the United Kingdom, the required catchment area datasets are not readily available to researchers. Here, we present a consolidated dataset of 7,537 catchment areas from ten sewerage service providers in the Great Britain, covering more than 96% of the population of England and Wales. We develop a geospatial method for estimating the population resident within each catchment from small area population estimates generated by the Office for National Statistics. The method is more widely applicable to matching electronic health records to wastewater infrastructure. Population estimates are highly predictive of population equivalent treatment loads reported under the European Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive. We highlight challenges associated with using geospatial data for wastewater-based epidemiology.