ADT helps protect water supply in Alabama

Birmingham Water Works, the largest water utility in the state of Alabama, has assembled a sophisticated integrated security system with network-based video and access control to help safeguard the district's water supply. The system by ADT Security Services includes more than 300 cameras monitoring the exterior and interior of the district's 18 locations and about 600 access control cards for its employees, vendors, contractors and consultants...

• Remote network-based video monitoring and access control provide both security and system safety for water district

BOCA RATON, FL, Sept. 15, 2008 -- Birmingham Water Works, the largest water utility in the state of Alabama, has assembled a sophisticated integrated security system with network-based video and access control to help safeguard the district's water supply. The system by ADT Security Services includes more than 300 cameras monitoring the exterior and interior of the district's 18 locations and about 600 access control cards for its employees, vendors, contractors and consultants.

Video from cameras at the main center, pumping and intake stations, filter plants and treatment centers is sent via the district's wide area network (WAN) to a security command center, which is operated and staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When a person or object comes in contact with the electronic fences surrounding district facilities, pan-tilt-zoom cameras from opposing angles are activated and send live video to the command center as well as video five seconds prior to and after contact. This allows security personnel to fully assess the situation and determine what triggered the alarm.

Work on the advanced system was started after 9/11 when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) required all water districts serving over 100,000 people to assess their vulnerabilities and implement a plan to address those issues.

"We are very pleased with the system and the team that has worked with us," said Terry Oden, security manager for Birmingham Water Works. "We put the safety of our customers above everything else and we have worked hard with our partners to develop a security system that will provide long-term safety and security for our facilities and water supply."

Cameras not only monitor for security, but interior cameras double check water processing valves, gauges and other critical parts of the facilities. To complement the district's SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) management system, the cameras provide live visual verification of system function and performance. For instance, if the computerized system sends a notification of a problem with water levels or pressure, the interior cameras are activated and provide vital visual information.

Recently, the district completed construction on a modern emergency operations center with a video wall similar to the high-end large video screens used by NASA that enable the entire room to view live streaming video from nearby and remote facilities.

The Birmingham district's system also includes network-based audio. Each location has an access card reader, intercom and camera at the entrance gate. Visitors without an access card can push a button activating the intercom system and camera. Security personnel in the command center are able to see and talk with the visitor and either grant or deny access to the facility.

Founded in 1951, Birmingham Water Works serves more than 600,000 customers in the Alabama counties of Jefferson, Shelby, Blount, St. Clair and Walker. It draws water from surface sources in the Black Warrior and Cahaba river basins and maintains a system of some 3,900 miles of transmission lines.

ADT is working more often with this type of critical infrastructure installation, according to John Gaydos, vice president, ADT Government.

"We are helping more municipal and state governments, organizations and agencies to provide effective security for the vital services that they provide their citizens and customers," he said. "Helping to make sure that people have things like safe water, transportation, parks and schools is essential."

ADT Security Services, a unit of Tyco International, is a provider of electronic security services to nearly six million commercial, government and residential customers throughout North America.

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