Setting standards for Europe

The UK water industry has set standards in infrastructure security which are impacting other utilities sectors here as well as the continental water industry. Michael Miles reports.

For almost a decade, UK water companies have worked to a legislated standard of security for the protection of potable water supplies. This is the Code of Practice for the Security of Service Reservoirs (1997).

sAnd, for years before this, with the threat of attack by the IRA, security has been high on the water industry’s agenda.

As part of its security strategy, the industry has adopted certificated levels for access covers, doors and vents to infrastructure for potable water storage to level 4 as defined within LPS 1175.

While it is a regulatory requirement to use LPCB-certified products for treated water storage, water engineers are also favouring the use of LPCB-certified products for applications elsewhere.

A number of water companies have adopted LPCB as their standard, and are specifying LPCB-approved products for treatment water installations, chlorine dosing, telemetry, alarm systems and other sensitive plant. The secure storage of chemicals and gases is likely to be next.

As well as meeting legislated standards of protection on service reservoirs with our LPCB level 4 clean water range, Technocover has been developing other LPCB products in anticipation of needs beyond the potable supply network.

Although UK water companies are nearing the halfway mark in their current five-year business plans, many are already looking ahead to the Ofwat Price Review

2009 (PR09). Most companies will develop their plans around the Standard for

Security Arrangements at Operational Assets, which is currently going through a consultation process.

Risk assessment

Bob Langdon, emergency planning and security manager for Dwr Cymru (Welsh Water), says: “For the past 18 months or so, the Water UK Security Standards Steering Group has been working to develop a standard which can be applied to all operational assets.

“Similar to the Code of Practice for the Security of Service Reservoirs (1997), the standard provides a common approach based on best practice that can be applied across the industry. It is a risk-based process to identify protective measures appropriate to individual circumstances, and allows for a variety of solutions that provide similar levels of security.

Risk assessment of applications outside reservoir infrastructure is generating a need for a wider range of security levels, including LPCB level 3 and 4. In response, Technocover provides a mix of products and security levels to give engineers the flexibility to match the access solution to the need. For example, the Ultrasecure CB and WMC/DV4 enclosures/modular buildings with LPCB SR 4 approval for chemical storage, process plant, control and monitoring equipment assessed as high risk, and the LPCB SR 3 doors, enclosures and modular buildings for lower-risk sites.

Other products in the high-security Ultrasecure range include upstand and flush-fitting access covers, doors, panels, cabinets, escape hatches, louvers, buildings and enclosures.

Richard Flint of the LPCB, says: “The water industry has adopted LPCB-approved products to meet tough standards in infrastructure protection. And it is continuing to rely on LPCB security ratings to protect lower-risk assets in other areas.”

John Welch, security and emergency planning manager for South West Water (SWW), says: “Water companies are now investing in enhanced security for other areas of water infrastructure, such as modular buildings for chemical storage.” He adds that the introduction of LPCB enclosures “has filled a void in our infrastructure protection”.

LPCB third-party approval has become the accepted benchmark for security performance in the water industry as there is currently no BS or EN security standard applicable to access covers, cabinets and doors.

LPCB certification has developed independently of BS and EN design standards, setting its own rigorous standards for design and testing focused on life safety issues.

But LPCB approval is more than a test. Through regular audits, LPCB certification ensures that the product continues to comply with the prevailing standards and their revisions. The auditing process by LPCB helps to confirm that the product on the market offers the same security performance as the product that was originally tested.

In addition, LPCB approval can only be awarded to products already assured by ISO9001 quality systems for design and manufacture.

Performance factors

LPCB’s Flint says: “While a type test indicates the test sample meets a particular performance standard, the test results do not guarantee products coming off the production line provide equivalent performance. LPCB’s on-going system of assessment ensures the performance of products coming off the production line by ensuring the factors likely to affect their performance are suitably managed.”

In cases where there is no design standard, the LPCB uses its own Loss Prevention Standard (LPS) requirements and testing procedures.

LPCB approval for access covers, hatches, doors, cabinets and enclosures are assessed to LPS 1175 – specification for testing and classifying the burglary resistance of building components, strong points and security enclosures.

LPS 1175 is based on manual attack testing and defines six levels of resistance: low to very high risk (one to six). These are measured in terms of attack tools and time available to the attacker. And they enables specifiers to select appropriate products.

LPCB approval is not granted easily. According to Flint: “Over 95% of products that claim secure design fail the LPCB test.”

The LPCB approval scheme it is helping to focus international attention on the UK water industry as an example of best practice in asset protection. Flint says: “The UK water industry and LPCB third-party assured manufacturers like Technocover are working to a level of security performance that could lead the way on the continent.

“A European standard for security has been in development for some time, but it is unlikely to be as rigorous as the LPS standards often used for LPCB approval.

“More and more water companies in the UK are applying the demanding LPS standard, and to a broader spectrum of their asset portfolio.”

SWW’s John Welch says: “The company’s [Technocover] expansion into Europe, promoting UK government standards and LPCB products as part of its portfolio, is a significant step and a measure of its strengths in meeting water-engineering needs.”

The growing use of electronic instead of mechanical padlocks needs to be carefully managed to ensure that the physical security of an installation is not undermined. Flint says: “Those looking to switch from mechanical to electronic padlocks must ensure that they do not undermine the products’ mechanical security performance to LPS1175.

“Electronic padlocks must have been checked and approved by an independent body, such as LPCB, to ensure the electronic security they offer is compatible with the LPS1175 ratings of the products on which they are to be used, and that they are not vulnerable to the environmental conditions of the application.”

Flint says that good physical security can easily be undermined if the electronic padlock is vulnerable to simple things such as water egress or electrostatic discharge, such as may occur during a lightening strike.

He adds: “As with other utilities and the transport sector, theft of materials is a growing problem in the water industry, so LPCB-approved security enclosures and cabinets have a role to play here as well.”

Michael Miles is director of Technocover. T: 01938 555511.

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