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Gallagher’s physical security solutions safeguard water resource facility at Birmingham

Gallagher’s perimeter protection system provides security upgrade at Birmingham Water Works Board
BWWB needed a physical perimeter security solution capable of deterring and detecting intruders 24/7
Birmingham Water Works Board

The Birmingham Water Works Board (BWWB) in Birmingham, Alabama uses the latest technology at its distributed treatment facilities, from which it delivers an average of 100-million gallons of fresh water a day to its customers in five counties. The company consistently meets and exceeds state and federal standards for safety and quality and takes pride in protecting the quality and safety of this essential resource.

The challenge

In today's world, community water resources need to be protected by anti-terrorism technology, federal and state regulations and security solutions to deal with a range of health and safety issues. Accordingly, many industries, including water utilities, are implementing security system upgrades. The BWWB was one of the first water utilities in the nation to step up to advanced solutions on plant security.

In compliance with orders from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the BWWB performed a vulnerability assessment of each of its facilities. This involved determining where critical assets were vulnerable to physical destruction of infrastructure (e.g., pumps, dams, filter plants) or contamination at any stage in the water treatment process.

This assessment exposed weaknesses in perimeter security at each of the board's facilities. To address these weaknesses, BWWB needed a comprehensive physical perimeter security solution capable of deterring and detecting intruders 24/7, while meeting stringent legal health and safety criteria, integrating with other security systems-such as access control and CCTV-and providing centralised management and fence zone monitoring of multiple remote sites.

Gallagher's PowerFence system was selected to provide a comprehensive, integrated perimeter security solution

The solution

After investigating a number of options, Gallagher North America's PowerFence™ system was selected to provide a comprehensive, integrated perimeter security solution. PowerFence™ systems have been proven over more than 20 years and installed on a wide variety of sites from general commercial to critical infrastructure throughout the world; this is the same system used by the United Kingdom to protect its national utility grid. The system is made up of the PowerFence™ Trophy FT physical perimeter security system and Cardax™ FT integration software platform.

Gallagher's PowerFence™ systems are non-lethal electric fence systems that detect intrusion attempts and deter would-be intruders. Attack is deterred through sending a regulated electric pulse around the PowerFence™ approximately once every second. These pulses give a short, but safe, shock, making it impossible to climb the fence. The fence also detects attacks, differentiating between serious breaches of the fence and disturbances caused by wildlife, birds or weather conditions.

Detection is made possible by Gallagher's Trophy FT software, which controls perimeter access and monitors fence activity. Using encrypted communication, Trophy FT allows BWWB to control and monitor unlimited sections of perimeter fence at six separate facilities from a central command centre. By adding the Cardax FT platform, BWWB is able to integrate legacy security systems, while leaving the door open for future expansion and upgrades.

For BWWB, the ability of Cardax FT to integrate PowerFence Trophy FT with their legacy security and access control system was a deciding factor. This integration makes it possible for both perimeter and access control alarms to be monitored from a remote command centre. By providing a comprehensive audit trail and report templates, Cardax FT gives security personnel at BWWB easy access to information for status updates and security checks.

Cardax FT integrated PowerFence Trophy FT with BWWB's legacy security and access control system

Terry Oden, CPP, Security Director at BWWB, with over 40 years field experience in security and risk assessment, recalls: "Through prior experience with physical protection, I knew that Gallagher PowerFence technology had been approved by government agencies for use in highly classified locations. It has an excellent reputation."

Oden was able to conform to local ordinances related to electric fencing by using the Gallagher Code of Practice. The Gallagher Code of Practice and Minimum Installation Standards meet and exceed the requirements of all national and international standards regarding safety and the application of electric fence systems.

The operations team at BWWB has found Gallagher's integrated perimeter security system to be easy to operate. Oden adds: "The operating system is highly compatible with our other security systems. The quality, flexibility and reliability of the Gallagher technology meet all of our expectations."

Gallagher North America Vice President of Sales and Marketing Jack Turley noted: "Given the security concerns about the nation's vital infrastructure, we anticipate more water and electrical utilities will follow the lead of the Birmingham Water Works Board and invest in top-of-the-line security systems. From technological capability and experience standpoint, we believe Gallagher is well positioned to take advantage of these opportunities."


Gallagher North America would like to acknowledge the support of Birmingham Water Works Board with the development of this site profile.

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