Award

2011 Interagency Partnership Mid-Continent

Rapid and accurate detection of drinking water contamination incidents is critical to notifying consumers of threats and risks to public health, as well as making remediation and recovery decisions. Sandia National Laboratories and the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed the CANARY software system to enable online event detection and time-critical decision making in both routine and emergency water quality assessments. CANARY is available under an open-source license to drinking water utilities of all sizes worldwide that are striving to provide the best quality water to their customers. In 2010, R&D Magazine selected CANARY as one of the winners of its prestigious R&D 100 Award.

Sandia has long been focused on national security objectives and, since the introduction of the Risk Assessment Methodology for Water in 1999, has been leading the Department of Energy’s research efforts in water security. The EPA and Sandia began working together in 2003 through an Interagency Agreement to focus the combined skill sets and experiences of both organizations on addressing critical water security knowledge gaps. Sandia developed software with experimental data developed at the EPA’s test and evaluation facility. The EPA managed the interface with pilot utilities and user groups, and distilled those interactions into direct feedback to Sandia to drive capability development and further improvements in the software. This partnership has been truly collaborative—involving expertise and resources from both agencies.

CANARY is being used today in a number of large utilities around the U.S., including Cincinnati, Philadelphia and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the world’s largest water utility. CANARY is also running on the Singapore national water distribution system. Other metropolitan water utilities in the U.S. are evaluating CANARY as part of the EPA’s Water Security Initiative, which is being rolled out to utilities nationwide. There are more than 50,000 community water systems in the U.S., all of which are potential CANARY users. Additionally, multiple software vendors, both U.S. and foreign, are interested in extending their existing products to integrate CANARY capability.
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Mid-Continent