Three questions for Cyrille Lemoine, VP Business Development and Innovation, Endetec

"We are developing a simple and inexpensive surveillance solution for water networks"
Published in the dossier of January 2017

Are water networks vulnerable?
To answer your question, I’ll take the example of the town of Nokia in Finland, which experienced an incident in its drinking water network in 2007: it was contaminated with a flow of sludge from the wastewater treatment plant. The local authorities were unable to respond rapidly and a third of the population, i.e. 8,000 people, suffered from gastroenteritis (200 had to be hospitalized). The network was cut off for four months for work, with considerable economic consequences.
How long have you been working on a solution to improve network security?

Cyrille Lemoine, VP Business Development ad Innovation, Endetec

We have recently seen that terrorism does not necessary attack sensitive locations, but often populations where they are.

In 2006, Veolia initiated a major research project on network risks. At the same time, the French Ministry of Defense’s Directorate General of Armaments was also working on this issue. Between 2008 and 2012, the European Union then launched the Sécur’eau1 program regarding the security and decontamination of drinking water distribution systems following a deliberate contamination. This program chose the technical solution developed by Veolia’s subsidiary Endetec: a sensor capable of measuring water quality known as “Kapta.” With this choice, the EU is adopting a different approach to the United States. The latter has opted to put in place equipment capable of detecting many different types of pollution in sensitive locations. However, these sensors are expensive, as well as complicated to maintain. What’s more, we have recently seen that terrorism does not necessarily attack sensitive locations, but often populations where they are.
What sets “Kapta” apart?
Its role is to indicate the existence of contamination. It is inexpensive and may be widely deployed in water networks, both for detecting accidental contamination as well as a malicious act. This early warning system allows us to act rapidly and prevent the population from drinking contaminated water. It also makes it possible to carry out additional tests as quickly as possible to determine the incriminated substances.