Hach, U.S. Army sign homeland security agreement
Hach's Homeland Security Technologies business unit signed an agreement with the U.S. Army to complete testing of its new real-time water security detection and response technology by the end of 2004. Under the agreement, the U.S. Army's Edgewood Chemical Biological Center and Corps of Engineer's Construction Engineering Research Laboratory will work with Hach to conduct live agent testing on the its new technology designed to detect terrorist attacks on drinking water distribution systems...
LOVELAND, CO, Oct. 18, 2004 -- Hach Company's Homeland Security Technologies business unit announced today it has signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the U.S. Army to complete testing of its new real-time water security detection and response technology by the end of 2004.
Under terms of this unique three-party agreement, the U.S. Army's Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, and the Corps of Engineer's Construction Engineering Research Laboratory and Hach will work to conduct live agent testing on the company's new technology designed to detect terrorist attacks on drinking water distribution systems.
"This is the final stage of verifying that we have the world's first working, reliable real-time detection technology---capable of both detecting for adverse attacks and managing drinking water quality," commented Dr. Jeff Throckmorton, president of Hach Homeland Security Technology, "We're proud to be the first to make this substantial development investment which has produced this homeland security solution."
Ensuring safety of water supplies
Under terms of the agreement, Hach is paying for the testing at the Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center (ECBC) to evaluate its new detection/response system against live threat agents. This testing is taking place at Aberdeen Proving Ground, one of the few sites in the country where such testing with real chemical and biological agents can legally take place. This testing is conducted in secure laboratories under strict environmental and safety procedures. The Army and Hach will be constructing their own real-time drinking water test loop. Results from this work may be published by the end of 2004, to the extent consistent with national security restrictions.
In addition, the Corps of Engineers is conducting parallel studies with Hach that will help the Corps understand critical fate and transport chemical dynamics. The information that the Corps and Hach will produce will help the Corps create and characterize new chemical conditions central to monitoring and predicting the impacts of terrorist attacks on drinking water distribution systems.
The new technology being evaluated is based on the Hach Event Monitor Trigger System. Five bulk monitoring sensors are coupled to an advanced, proprietary, interpretive algorithm. Using smart instrumentation and advanced interpretation techniques, the system is designed to use off-the-shelf monitoring sensors to detect for the presence of a broad suite of likely drinking water contaminants or poisons. The system also is designed to define water utility distribution network background conditions on a point-to-point, minute-to-minute basis, and help water providers characterize and manage ongoing operational conditions and water quality. Pending successful verification testing and receiving necessary Federal liability protections, this new technology is scheduled for commercialization in 2005.
The terrorist threat
Hach began work to develop this technology after events of Sept. 11. The nature of this threat is significant. Injection within the drinking water distribution system circumvents the security measures put in place at water treatment plants, bypasses the protective barriers and negates the benefit of dilution. Such an attack can be easily and cheaply accomplished.
Because of complex chemistries within the drinking water distribution networks, and the dearth of effective monitoring technologies, it has been conventional scientific wisdom that an attack on the distribution system is impossible to detect or mitigate. Several government reports have suggested the need to address this challenge. (See National Strategy for Physical Protection of Critical Infrastructures and Key Assets, Office of Science and Technology Planning, The White House, 2003, Making the Nation Safer, National Research Council, 2002, Experts' Views on How Future Federal Funding Can Best Be Spent to Improve Security, General Accounting Office, 2003.)
Hach Company is based in Colorado and Iowa, and is the World's largest water and wastewater instrumentation manufacturer. A part of the Danaher Corporation, Hach manufactures and markets over 3,000 products for water analysis in drinking water, wastewater and industrial applications.