It's all part of the EPA's Threat Ensemble Vulnerability Assessment (TEVA) program to counter threats against water systems. The program uses a computational framework containing a suite of software tools that can simulate threats and identify vulnerabilities in drinking water systems, measure potential public health impacts, and evaluate mitigation and response strategies.
The EPA became particularly concerned about potential water system contamination after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on Washington, D.C. and New York.
U.S. water systems consist of large networks of storage tanks, valves, and pipes that transport clean water to customers over vast areas. By the very nature of their design, they provide multiple points for potential contamination -- either accidental or intentional.
Sandia is a National Nuclear Security Administration laboratory.
"Our involvement dates back about three years ago when the EPA became aware of some LDRD [internally-funded Laboratory Directed Research and Development program] research we were doing to model threat assessments to water systems," says Sean McKenna, Sandia project researcher. "We started working with the EPA in March 2003."
During the ensuing three years, the collaborative team created world-class software to address water security issues. The software can aid in the placement of sensors during the design stage of a contaminant warning system. It can also determine when and where a contamination event happens, track changes, and determine when the event is over.
"Through careful adaptation of classical algorithms, we are able to solve sensor placement problems on networks that are 100 times larger than those previously cited in the water security literature," says Jon Berry, who works on sensor placement methods for the project. "Our team recognized and exploited mathematical structure that hadn't been associated with water security before."
Bill Hart, Sandia project lead, says the software "helped the EPA meet several internal milestones over the past year," including developing a contaminant incident timeline for the EPA's WaterSentinel program and working with a large city water utility to determine the best locations for sensor placement. The WaterSentinel Program is being developed in partnership with select cities and laboratories in response to a Homeland Security Presidential Directive that charges the EPA to develop surveillance and monitoring systems to provide early detection of water contamination.
The EPA will test Sandia's event detection methods later this summer at a large water system.
"These tests [that the EPA will conduct] will assess the event detection methods so that we can better understand how to respond more intelligently to contaminations as they occur," Hart says.
Sandia is also leveraging this project with another research project funded by the American Water Works Association Research Foundation to develop a sensor simulator that offers a more complete understanding of how contaminant warning systems may ultimately function when operated in water distribution systems. Sandia researchers are developing a software algorithm that mimics the performance of water quality sensors in common use today.
Sensor characteristics such as noise, drift, and sampling frequency are incorporated into a user-friendly software module that enables system designers to assess on-line data signals for event detection that also take into account imperfect sensors and changing water quality baselines that are encountered during routine system operation.
The event detection methods and its sensor simulator have been specifically tailored for use with a variety of affordable, off-the-shelf sensors commonly used by water utilities to monitor water quality.
Chris Burroughs | EurekAlert!
Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Medical Engineering