Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers develop contaminant warning program for EPA to monitor water systems in real time

12.10.2006
Sandia National Laboratories researchers are working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), University of Cincinnati and Argonne National Laboratory to develop contaminant warning systems that can monitor municipal water systems to determine quickly when and where a contamination occurs.

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!
Further information:
http://www.sandia.gov
http://www.sandia.gov/news/resources/releases/2006/teva.html

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Value from wastewater
16.08.2017 | Hochschule Landshut

nachricht Species Richness – a false friend? Scientists want to improve biodiversity assessments
01.08.2017 | Carl von Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>