Protection of Water Systems Is the Focus of Proposed New ASTM International Standard

Selecting and using monitoring methods to protect water systems is the focus of a new standards development effort. Subcommittee E47.05 on Risk Assessment, Communication and Management has begun WK11621, New Standard Guide for Selecting and Using Ecological Sentinels for National Security Monitoring, to accomplish this goal. The draft is also the starting point for a potential series of standards on ecological sentinels that serve as early warning systems for protecting critical water systems in the United States.

Subcommittee E47.05, a branch of ASTM International Committee E47 on Biological Effects and Environmental Fate, will draw on expertise in E47 and in Committee E54 on Homeland Security Applications. Robert Stenner, Ph.D., a toxicologist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., said, “E47’s goal is to understand water system environments and develop ecotoxicologically based standards to monitor and manage the ecological health of the respective water system. The E54 committee has as a focus the understanding of the host of ways a terrorist might attack our vulnerable assets, which includes our nation’s drinking and wastewater systems. We hope to merge the expertise of these two committees to identify and develop needed standard guides.”

Stenner notes that the effort will also draw on the many years of existing ecotoxicological work related to understanding and protecting the environment. For the new standards, that expertise will be applied to guarding against potential threats.

E47.05 welcomes additional participation in the standards project, particularly by municipal water systems experts to ensure the practical application of standards being developed. The group also plans to involve such organizations as the American Waterworks Association, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Homeland Security Research Center.

For further technical information on the new activity, contact Robert Stenner, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Wash. (phone: 509/375-2916; For membership or meeting details, contact Scott Orthey (phone: 610/832-9730;

Release #7439

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