In 1983, the book “Sanitation and Disease Health Aspects of Excreta and Wastewater Management” (Feachem et al.1983) was published with a financial contribution from the World Bank. The book documented a synthesis of existing scientific knowledge on the occurrence and persistence of pathogens in primarily the water environment. The book had been and continues to be the key reference point for the development of quantitative guidance for sanitation practices including defining safe and unsafe activities, evaluation of low technology treatment and disposal options and for addressing adequate controls for protection of health.

More than 30 years later, a one-day workshop was held 4th of May 2014 led by Dr. Joan B. Rose, Michigan State University and Dr. Blanca Jimenez, Director of the Division of Water Sciences, UNESCO, which laid the ground work for building a knowledge community to develop The Global Water Pathogen Hub, an online resource which would include the updated version of “Sanitation and Disease: Health Aspects of Excreta and Wastewater Management” (Feachem et al. 1983). The GWP network of scientists and students will now be gathering and building the knowledge on pathogens in water including information on new pathogens, new methods, new data bases and new models that are available for the examination of pathogen occurrence in excreta, wastewater, other waters as well as their persistence and resistance to and removal by wastewater treatment.

The network has more than 80 authors (and is growing) from various backgrounds and disciplines with database management from the information technology company Agroknow. The editors and contributors for the project began collaborating in the fall of 2014, with the project slated to complete in fall of 2016.