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Utilities are under more and more requirements, many mandated by law, to protect their facilities and the public they serve from possible terrorist attack. Vulnerability Assessments are required and abundant resources are available to perform them. But once the threats are identified, what do we do about them?

There are many vendors eager to sell you both classic and innovative solutions. With a basic understanding of security technologies, you can determine which technologies will be most effective and practical for your particular needs.

This paper is designed to give you a general background in selecting and applying physical systems to reduce risks at water or wastewater utilities. It is presented from the viewpoint of the facility operations/constraints rather than advocating particular security hardware. In other words, general descriptions and features of equipment are discussed without endorsing specific brands or models. In some cases, simple operational countermeasures are recommended instead of adding hardware.

First, we will briefly review the type of facilities (collection systems, pumping stations, treatment processes, main plant sites, remotes sites, offices and personnel entry, chemical delivery/storage, control systems) and the type of attacks (physical, cyber, chemical contaminant) that utilities face. We will also review typical “real world” issues such as budget, facility location issues and secure procurement.

Security hardware is generally broken down into Detection, Delay and Response equipment. Examples of the pros and cons that you should be aware of with various security hardware in each of these categories will be reviewed next. This will include hardware types, facility operating considerations, capital and operating costs, maintenance, and most importantly appropriateness for different types of facilities.

The new EPA-sponsored Security Product Guide website will be presented as a good source of information regarding particular security products and product types. The Guides provide information on product function, product features, appropriate applications, initial cost range, maintenance cost, longevity, and a list of manufacturers for a variety of products that can be applied for security purposes at wastewater facilities. Additional resources for obtaining further information will also be provided.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2004

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