Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Environmental Analysis
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Protecting Drinking Water Systems from Deliberate Contamination

Published: Tuesday, July 09, 2013
Last Updated: Tuesday, July 09, 2013
Bookmark and Share
An international project has developed a response programme for rapidly restoring the use of drinking water networks following a deliberate contamination event.

The importance of water and of water infrastructures to human health and to the running of our economy makes water systems likely targets for terrorism and CBRN (chemical, biological and radionuclide) contamination. Reducing the vulnerability of drinking water systems to deliberate attacks is one of the main security challenges.

SecurEau, a four-year Seventh Framework Programme funded project, involved 12 partners, including the University of Southampton, from six European countries. It has developed a toolbox that can be implemented by a major European city in response to a contamination event, which includes:

• tools for detecting water quality changes;
• methods for rapidly identifying the source(s) of intentional contamination;
• multi-step strategies for cleaning distribution systems;
• analytical methods for confirming cleaning procedure efficiency.

Research groups from the University of Southampton, the only UK partner in the project, developed new methods and technologies for detecting low levels of microbial and radiological contaminants and improving the efficiency of decontamination protocols, with special attention to the role of biofilms.

The SecurEau team developed water quality sensors to be installed in a drinking water system, which allows an alert to be issued rapidly when abrupt changes in the quality of water are detected. These were confirmed by development of specific molecular tools by Southampton and several other partners.

The team also developed ‘sentinel coupons’ of polymeric materials to be installed in water distribution systems for deposits and biofilms to form on their inner surface. The coupons would be installed in the water supply system to monitor the concentration of the pollutant absorbed onto the like pipe walls. They would then be used to validate the cleaning procedures applied throughout the network during the crisis phase but also during ‘normal’ operation of the network.

Project partners also developed mathematical models to determine the areas which have been contaminated and the sources of contamination, and various cleaning methods, both traditional and new ones, to be applied to decontaminate the network.

Professor Bill Keevil, Director of Environmental Healthcare at the University of Southampton, says: “If a contamination event (accidental or deliberate) occurs in a drinking water network, it is essential to identify the sources of contamination and to determine the area which is likely to be contaminated, in order to isolate and decontaminate the affected area only, as well as keep supplying drinking water in non-affected areas.

“Our experiments show that coupon-monitoring devices are suited to follow deposit / biofilm formation in drinking water distribution systems as well as to investigate and confirm the successful removal of deposits from surfaces.”

Professor Ian Croudace, Director of the University’s Geosciences Advisory Unit, adds: “Rapidly restoring the functionality of drinking water infrastructures (catchment areas, raw water transfer systems, treatment facilities, treated water reservoirs and distribution networks), and the access to safe drinking water represents another major concern for regulatory agencies and water utilities. Indeed, the damage resulting from impairment of drinking water services would seriously impact the quality of life of many people not only by directly harming them but also making water systems unusable for a long period of time with a risk of societal disorder (similar situation as with any accidental contamination events or natural disasters).”


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.


Scientific News
Environmental Impact of GM Crops
Following the adoption of GM crops, insecticide usage decreases but herbicide use increases, study shows.
Water Dynamics Affect Coral Reefs
Understanding what aids or degrades these ecosystems can help focus conservation efforts on reefs that are most likely to survive global warming.
Impact of Emerging Contaminants in Our Water Supply
Emerging contaminants, any synthetic or naturally occurring chemical not commonly monitored in the environment, in our water supply are becoming of increasing concern due to their potential ecological and/or human health effects.
Study Finds Mercury Contamination Across Western N. America
BRI research results found widespread mercury contamination at various levels across Western North America.
Device Improves Measurement of Water Pollution
Researchers have developed a device that makes it easier to measure contaminant levels in water.
Changing Ocean Chemistry Due To Human Activity
More anthropogenic carbon in the northeast Pacific means weaker shells for many marine species.
Sensor Could Help Fight Bacterial Infections
The sensor can detect E.coli bacteria in 15-20 minutes over a wide temperature range, offering a fast and cost effective tests.
Extreme Temperatures Could Increase Preterm Birth Risk
Researchers at NIH have found more preterm births among women exposed to extremes of hot and cold.
Measuring Chemistry on a Chip
Researchers developing chemical sensor chip for sample analysis in a lab or monitoring air and water quality in the field.
Unravelling a Microbial Mess
Scientists have untangled the Kansas-based mess of microbes more fully than scientists have ever done for a sample of soil.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,000+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!