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CTG leads the way in protecting drinking water infrastructure

Water abstraction points may be affected by deliberate contamination. Early warning monitoring systems are required to alert operators to these contaminants and to changes in key water quality parameters. The new Chelsea FastGuard has been designed to observe the natural trends in water quality parameters and rapidly detect and report anomalies.

FastGuard is a result of a development programme to assess the suitability of the Fast Repetition Rate Fluorescence technology for detecting the effects of hostile contaminants. The ability of water borne algae to photosynthesize, and hence fluoresce, is significantly affected by toxic chemicals. FastGuard provides an instant response to a range of contaminants including methylparathion (an organophosphate insecticide), potassium cyanide (which can result in nervous system and respiratory failure), diuron and paraquat.


FastGuard measures a time dependent fluorescence signal that arises solely from chlorophyll that is active in photosynthesis - a parameter directly related to the physiology of the algae. Therefore FastGuard is capable of discriminating between chlorophyll that is free in the water column, present in dead algae and present in physiologically active organisms. Importantly, the measurement is independent of algae concentration and changes in ambient light levels. The response time for FastGuard to detect a contamination event can be a matter of seconds. When combined with historic time series, and other water quality parameters, the likelihood of a false alarm is minimized. This makes FastGuard ideally suited for deployments at critical points in water distribution systems to detect contamination of water pre- and post-treatment.

With FastGuard, we are addressing the new challenges of the homeland security threat. An early-warning monitoring network can help to ensure abstraction point and water storage protection. The sensors must perform reliably when unattended for extended periods of time, typically many months. Any contamination events must be detected promptly and information passed efficiently to the monitoring station that maybe many miles away. Incorrect reporting of events, and false positives, are unacceptable.”

FASTguard FASTguard provides an instant response to a range of contaminants

As the design authority for a number of military environmental systems we understand the demands of operational systems and provide sensors with significantly extended calibration intervals, built in test circuitry and redundancy.

For more information, please contact Ellen Keegan, Communications Manager, Tel +44 (0)20 8481 9019.

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