Contamination security white papers released in USA

New security technologies for detecting and monitoring water supplies could be developed as a result of a contamination warning system (CWS) demonstration pilot project in the USA undertaken by CH2M Hill and the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD).

The two partners have released a series of 15 white papers to disseminate knowledge and industry best practices gained from the project.

As part of a larger Water Security (WS) initiative, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded grants to water utilities in four major cities, including Philadelphia, to institute full-scale CWSs. This effort was to build upon what had already been developed by EPA with the Greater Cincinnati Water Works.

The CWS pilot project, which began in 2009, is now complete and already PWD and other utilities have observed significant operational benefits. The program was developed using a systematic approach and incorporated six major components, including:

· Online water quality monitoring
· Sampling and analysis
· Enhance security monitoring
· Consumer complaint surveillance
· Public health surveillance
· Consequence management

Using advanced monitoring technologies and enhanced surveillance, CWS makes it possible to collect, integrate, analyze and communicate water quality issues, thereby minimizing the transport of contaminated water through PWD’s distribution system and providing PWD time to communicate and respond to a contamination event. The system’s dual benefits for daily operations and water security have produced operational advantages for PWD, including improved and streamlined customer complaint response through the integration of an advanced work order management system.

PWD and CH2M Hill produced the white papers as part of the project’s final efforts to share as broadly as possible the knowledge and experience gained from the pilot with other water utilities. They can be downloaded from Ken Thompson, CH2M Hill’s deputy director – intelligent water solutions, also discusses the system on the company’s Access Water blog.