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Software can protect water supplies
by Staff Writers
Albuquerque (UPI) Jul 25, 2011

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

U.S. researchers say a free software program can protect water utilities from terrorist attacks and contaminants while increasing water quality.

Scientists at the Sandia Laboratories in New Mexico, in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have developed a free computer program -- CANARY Event Detections Software -- that protects public water systems from terrorist attacks or natural contaminants.

"People are excited about it because it's free and because we've shown that it works really well. We would love to have more utilities using it," said Regan Murray of the EPA's Water Infrastructure Protection Division at the National Homeland Security Research Center.

The software can inform utility operators within minutes whether something is wrong with their water, giving them time to warn and protect the public, a Sandia Labs release said Monday.

And it's improving water quality by giving utility managers more comprehensive real-time data about changes in the water moving through municipal systems.

"If you don't have a detection system, the way you find out about these things is when people get sick," Murray said.

CANARY, which runs on a desktop computer, can work with existing sensors and software, Sandia's Sean McKenna said.

"From the start of an event -- when a contaminant reaches the first sensor -- to an event alarm would be 20-40 minutes, depending on how the utility has CANARY configured," McKenna said.

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