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e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

Protecting our water supply


By Bill Carey
News 10 Now Web Staff
Updated: 9/28/2004 8:11 AM

It is something we take for granted. That on any given day we will have a plentiful and healthy supply of water.

But, in the wake of terror alerts around the world, New York State's university system began studying various ways to protect New Yorkers, including safeguarding their water supply.

"And we looked both at things that were directly associated with the risk of nuclear and biological and chemical terror as it would directly impact individual people, our health care issues, vaccines, etcetera, but also to look at our infrastructure," said SUNY Chancellor Robert King.

Working with researchers at SUNY's College of Environmental Science and Forestry and various local high tech firms, a new company was born, called Source Sentinel, which has now developed a system to gauge contamination of water supply, not just because of a terror threat, but also because of the worldwide implication of contamination.

"By the time this day ends, 35,000 to 40,000 people will have died from waterborne diseases," said Dick Cauchon, with the Sensis Corporation.

The system, they say, will work wonders.

The developers of the system point here to Woodlawn reservoir in Syracuse. There was a problem here this past summer with algae forming in the water supply. It disrupted service to many homes in the Syracuse area. They say their system could have spotted that problem early enough to deal with it before it became a crisis.

In fact, it could have diagnosed the problem and recommended action within 5 minutes of the first trace of algae growth being spotted.

The new company hopes to sell the system to water systems across the nation and around the world.

"It gives us a tool to make the world a safer place, so that we can continue to take good, clean, safe drinking water for granted. The State University system will share in any profits from the new system," said Representative James Walsh.

The plan is to use those monies to help fund more research.


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