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Safe Water Software

August 22, 2011

New software can quickly flag tainted water supplies.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Water-safety software.  I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Contaminated water often goes undetected until people get sick.  That’s because routine chemical tests can take days to get results.  But now, officials in Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Southern California, and Singapore are trying new water monitoring software, called CANARY.  It’s being developed by Sandia National Laboratories and the EPA’s Homeland Security Research Center.  Sandia computer scientist David Hart says it integrates information from multiple chemical sensors in real time, looking for suspicious changes in the water’s composition.

DAVID HART (Sandia National Laboratories):

And if you have enough deviation, for a long enough period of time, then that’s when CANARY will tell the operator that there’s probably something going on.

HIRSHON:

And unlike similar kinds of software, CANARY doesn’t require a whole new set of sensors – it can work with what the plants have on hand.  It’s hoped that the system will help protect us from accidental contamination and terrorist plots.  I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.