Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 1 - ISIS (Integrated intelligent sensor system for improved security of water supply)

Project Context and Objectives:
In recent years, increased terrorist activity has raised awareness of the potential threats to water supplies. Drinking water production and distribution systems are potentially vulnerable to deliberate, accidental or natural CBRN-related contaminations because of their many potential entry points for the introduction of the harmful chemicals and microorganisms. Once introduced these harmful substances can then be widely dispersed into to water network. The protection of water supplies however, presents many challenges. The ISIS project aims to provide the basis for the protection of public water supplies from terrorist activity by delivering a range of new sensors with capabilities for the rapid alert of chemical or biological contamination and integrating them into a new smart water monitoring system that has the capability of providing an informed hazard level to the necessary authorities. The Strategic objectives of the project are:
• To provide a sensor-based water network monitoring system that gives early warning of contamination
• To incorporate an intelligent architecture that is capable of analysing the risk and reliably advising directions for an appropriate response.
• To advance the understanding of security threats in water supply networks. ISIS will advance the state-of-the-art in water security by providing capability for continuous, on-line monitoring to enable rapid detection of potentially harmful contaminants. A key part of this strategy will be the development of high performance sensors for detecting a far wider range of contaminants and with greater sensitivities than current sensors. By combining the new sensors with high levels of functionality in automated security systems and software analysis the system will output graded hazard indication and required response action. The sensors will be integrated via a state-of-the-art wireless network into a smart system that can reliably and rapidly send alert information of contamination events. This will incorporate new risk analysis architecture that can indicate the level of hazard and the type and location of the event. The greatly increased level and quality of information will provide the essential early warning while minimising false positives. It can also be used for protection in cases of natural events, accidents and chemical pollution. ISIS will deliver a security capability for water supplies that is not currently available through innovative developments in four main areas.
• Sensors. Accurate and responsive sensors are essential for protecting water networks. They must be "on-line" and suitable for location at strategically important points. ISIS will develop four complementary innovative sensor methods. Each will have adaptable selectivity, through tailored sensing surfaces, so that collectively they can cover the major potential contaminants, both chemical and biological.
• Wireless network. This will permit flexibility in deployment of the sensors and aid integration of the complementary types. Networking theory normally covers situations where sensor placement is unconstrained, allowing distribution for optimisation of range, coverage, redundancy and power utilisation. ISIS will apply new methods to achieve effective sensor distributions within the constraint of existing water system architectures.
• Intelligent monitoring strategies. A complex network of sensors installed within a water network will continuously generate a complicated mass of data. It is vital for supply reliability and for economic reasons to avoid false responses. ISIS will develop novel decision software to ensure the integrity of the monitoring system.
• Integrated risk analysis software. To further enhance the integrity of the security system, ISIS will develop risk analysis software, which will be implemented in two ways. (1) it will be integrated into the monitoring strategy to provide a reliable model-based architecture; (2) it will be modeled on the architecture of the water treatment and distribution system in order to optimise the positioning and implementation of the sensor network.

Project Results:
In the first period of the project, the project has assessed the potential threat to the water supplies in two major city distribution networks. This has included identifying the potential points of entry into the water distribution system and how the potentially harmful substances are then dispersed through the pipes. The water companies Vivaqua and and Kauno Vandenys have assessed scenarios in their water distribution systems by using harmless trace chemicals and using hydraulic modelling of the systems in order to understand how the materials are dispersed from the point of entry into the network. The consortium has also considered the most likely substances that may be introduced in the context of terrorism or accidental contamination. Potential harmful chemicals were identified by their potential for short-term toxicity, with as criteria a lethal dose 50% (LD50) < 5 mg/kg. In the present assessment, since LD50 is well documented for animals, these were the preferred toxicity data used for the assessment over those known for humans, which are not always available. Based on the basic models of potential contamination scenarios and how this can spread through the network, the consortium has outlined the requirements of a sensor network and capability that would provide sufficient data to the authorities in order to make informed decisions on required actions in response to a threat level. The partners have then considered the secure communication protocols that are needed for the sensor network and how the information is sent from the sensors and received into the ISIS application software for risk analysis.
For the biological detection two sensors technologies have been developed based on modified quartz crystal microbalance and diamond cantilever transducers. Methods have been developed to provide selectivity for the model biological materials using molecular imprinting techniques. The modified sensors have shown that they can be used to selectively detect these agents at very low levels. Improvements are now being done. The protocols and hardware have also been designed so that the sensors can be interfaced with the wireless network. For the chemical sensors several technologies have been investigated to provide both detection of organics in the water system and selectivity against a range of selected compounds. A key results is the development of a colorimetric array sensor which is easily integrable and sensitive to most of the ISIS relevant compounds. Sensors demonstrated to be able to selectively identify the tested compounds at a concentration range compatible with the requirements of the project. The project has also developed a boron doped diamond electrodes for the voltammetric detection of chemical substances and has been shown to provide a selective fingerprint of paraoxon with respect to other pesticides such as imidacloprid. To detect organics in the water, an evaporation-sensor system has been developed which allows organic materials (volatile and non-volatile) to be detected by low cost metal oxide semiconductor type sensors. The technique has shown that organic levels of <1ppm in water for some of the analytes using the best sensor can be been achieved. The technique can also provide a method of preconcentration using sampling of larger volumes allowing much lower concentrations to be detected.
Potential Impact:
A basic integrated system has been designed which incorporates the main components of the ISIS concept. This includes: a method for sampling a representative sample of the water from the network which can be then be presented to the sensor arrays; Integration of the control systems with the sampling and sensors and integration with the wireless data communication system. A prototype risk analysis & management platform to interface with the sensor network has been developed. This consists of a first version of the alarm & data management screens to enable integration of the emergency response procedures with the risk assessment algorithm for fast and accurate decision support to the crisis team. This will be further developed by the end-users for the risk assessment process to evaluate incidents from different perspectives (creating scenarios). The ISIS system can pre-process this information so it will be available when needed. This will improve the awareness of the user(s) performing the risk assessment and also reduce the time to assemble the information related to any potential incident. The ISIS consortium brings together two water company end-users with security and sensor specialists from the research, academic and SME communities. The partnership of 10 includes 4 SMEs, and has the capability to exploit the product.
List of Websites:
http://www.isis-project.eu/

Reported by

C-TECH INNOVATION LIMITED
United Kingdom
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