WERF Awards Security Research Contract to Black & Veatch

July 1, 2004

The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) has awarded a contract to Black & Veatch to advance an information technology framework for preventing wastewater treatment plant security breaches.

Black & Veatch, a global engineering, consulting and construction company, has been awarded a contract to advance an information technology framework for preventing wastewater treatment plant upsets

The new WERF project will yield an integrated approach for detecting and rapidly responding to malicious attacks at wastewater treatment plants, with special emphasis on the possible introduction of chemical, biological and radioactive contaminants to plant influent.

"This project will play a critical role in our research of security issues by affording us a better understanding of the function of support systems in wastewater treatment," said WERF project manager Mary Strawn. "It will also provide insight on how to protect plant processes during upset conditions."

The project budget includes $175,000 from WERF as well as non-cash, in-kind contributions from Black & Veatch, Advanced Data Mining, the Charleston (South Carolina) Commissioners of Public Works, Severn Trent Services and Applied Spectrometry Associates.

Co-principal investigators Andrew Shaw, a process specialist at Black & Veatch, and Nancy Love, Ph.D., an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Polytechnic and State University, will lead WERF Project No. 03-CTS-7S: Feasibility Testing of Support Systems to Prevent Upsets.

The research team will assess wastewater utilities’ current real-time decision-making capabilities and use of computer-based support systems, evaluate available support products, and develop and test prototype decision-support framework software as well as application guidelines.

The project spans many disciplines and elements – including experience-based expert systems, security assessment, on-line monitoring and other data sources – which will be integrated within a combined analysis and decision-support system framework.

Source: WERF