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Treating Water As an Ingredient Not a Utility: Monitoring to Safeguard the Integrity of Water from Accidental or Intentional Contamination

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Many processing facilities utilize water as either an ingredient or in the processing of product. Many of these installations rely upon municipal utilities for their water needs. Traditionally, water has not been treated as an ingredient by industry. The responsibility for quality control has remained with the utility rather than the production plant that uses it. Since the 9/11 attacks, the vulnerability of drinking water supplies to assault by terrorists has gained widespread attention. This would be an easy means with which to contaminate end products coming from manufacturing facillities. A system designed to address the problem of distribution system monitoring is described here. The developed system employs an array of analytical instrumentation, such as pH and chlorine monitors, coupled with advanced interpretive algorithms to provide detection/identification networks. A variety of real world venues and testing protocols are presented to verify the efficacy of the system. Data obtained from a Battelle/EPA ETV study and a CRADA with the EPA ORD addresses issues such as long-term deployment and ability to detect and characterize common contaminants. Information obtained from studies carried out by the US Army Corp of Engineers as the result of a 3-way CRADA demonstrate data collected when the system is exposed to actual warfare agents and a series of data streams from real world beta sites demonstrate learning ability and deployment strategies. The system is shown to be a practical measure to help detect and characterize both terror related and common changes in water quality that could result in contamination. Benefits above and beyond the security aspect are attainable by utilizing the systems ability to learn as a means of improving enhanced quality of the products being manufactured. Significant possibilities also exist for collaboration between industrial useres of water and municipal utilities in deployment of such systems.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 2007

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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