United Defense Installs First WaterSentry Security Alert System

June 2, 2005
System designed to monitor for chemical contaminants and provide alerts

United Defense Industries, along with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has completed the first commercial and military installations of the WaterSentry monitoring system at facilities in Alabama, North Carolina and Tennessee.

WaterSentry is the first product to automatically and continuously test for chemical toxins that have been introduced into water supplies. It is a fully automated system that continuously tests algae activity. Within minutes, the system can detect the presence of a chemical contaminant and provide an immediate alert to a remotely located control station.

"WaterSentry is a new approach to quickly detect toxic chemicals in large-scale, primary-source drinking water supplies for homeland security and regulatory use. We believe it to be the only water sensor of its kind. It is fully automated, easily maintained, and reduces the need for personnel to go to sites to manually test water," said Steve McCarter, Manager Business Development/Security Systems for United Defense. "The installation of WaterSentry will help secure the source of drinking water for millions of households. WaterSentry is always on the alert, warning of potential problems that can be minimized with early intervention."

United Defense integrated Oak Ridge National Laboratory's (ORNL) AquaSentinel technology into WaterSentry under an exclusive license. The system employs ORNL technology to continuously and automatically test for chemical toxins by measuring algae fluorescence.

The Department of Energy's (DOE) Basic Energy Sciences program funded the basic research on photochemistry before the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency funded the initial application as biosensors. Development of WaterSentry and the integration of ORNL's AquaSentinel technology was funded by United Defense through DOE's Work for Others program.