Protecting Our Water

"When you drink the water, remember the spring." - Chinese proverb I grew up in the shadow of a water tower. On hot summer nights I would climb to the top, sit with my back against the tank and wait for the cooling breeze that would arrive just...


Further, the total grant is shared by 50 states, five territories, and many cities and towns. The 2004 Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) allocations for cities total $671 million and are distributed by infrastructure threat rather than by population alone. For example, the City of San Francisco ranks 14th in population but is fifth on the list of DHS grants due to critical infrastructure.

The 50 largest U.S. cities receive the highest grant funds, and the remainder is divided among thousands of small towns and rural areas. Terrorists have shown that they target high-profile institutions. However, as these targets become highly protected, the probability of attacks on soft targets increases.

At the time of the 9/11 attacks, many rural and small-town water treatment plants lacked the most basic security assets, such as perimeter fencing. Faced with budget cuts and the smallest portion of DHS grants, smaller utilities struggle to meet the requirements of the EPA's Homeland Security Plan. Advanced perimeter intrusion detection technologies such as buried sensor cable and seismic and microwave fence detectors would be ideal for many sites. Regretfully, the cost to retrofit existing sites with these technologies is beyond the budgets of smaller water districts. Several manufacturers have broadened their security products to meet the demands of both large and small utilities.

Equipment and Access Protection
Mechanical locks and chains traditionally protect sensitive areas. Ingersoll-Rand's Kryptonite Division, well known by bicycle and motorcycle owners, offers heavy-duty locking and portable equipment security products for industrial and utility applications. Kryptonite manufactures heavy-duty chain and padlock sets, including stainless steel marine padlocks and aboveground and in-ground anchor points for securing portable equipment.

Key control is of utmost importance in maintaining a secure facility. IR's Schlage Lock Division's Primus(r) cylinders are restricted and offer high pick resistance. Schlage offers network and offline electronic locks that have time controls and event logging. These locks will work with most existing magstripe and proximity card technologies. In the event a card is lost or stolen, the locks can be quickly reprogrammed with a hand-held PDA.

Climbing Deterrents and IDS
Security professionals share a great concern about intruders climbing on structures and tanks. Since the attacks of 9/11, utilities' primary focus has been on measures to prevent terrorism. However, intruders that gain access to utilities pose a threat to the property and themselves. An intruder who is injured on a hazard that is not properly protected can sue the utility regardless of his or her intent. This writer served as an expert defense witness on a case in which intruders who had no legitimate business being in a facility, and in fact were actually vandalizing the property, were injured. They claimed the hazards within the perimeter were not properly protected and won a settlement.

Proper climbing protection includes blocking access to ladders and service catwalks. RB Industries of Greensboro, NC, makes a locking ladder cover that is an eight-foot-high by three- foot-wide aluminum shroud that blocks access to the bottom of a tower ladder. Manufacturers of similar products include Carbis Inc., Serrmi Products Inc. and Brock Manufacturing. In 1993, Protection Technologies Inc. of Reno, NV, released its Pyramid series dual-technology stereo Doppler intrusion detector for outdoor use. The product is ideal for spot detection and for use with other perimeter intrusion detection technologies. Recently ProTech developed a variation on this product, the Pyramid LT. Using dual-channel microwave and passive infrared technology, the new sensor detects one-way motion in the outdoor environment. This makes the product ideal for detecting intruders climbing ladders or towers. When placed at the top of a structure and aimed downward, the detector will alarm if a person or object moves more than 40 inches toward the sensor.