Protecting water treatment plants: is your site secure?

With over 67 million people in the UK requiring access to water sanitation and treatment services, providing clean water to households and businesses is an impressive feat. Perimeter security is of the utmost importance at such sites, with stopping unauthorised personnel from gaining access the top priority.

Bearing in mind the huge numbers of people reliant on companies such as Thames Water, Britain’s largest water and wastewater company, the potential risks of a security breach at a water treatment plant are extremely serious; from deliberate poisoning of the UK’s water supply to accidental contamination, due to natural disasters or pollution.

So how can you ensure your water treatment plant is secure?

Review your water treatment plant security requirements

Many utility sites, such as water treatment plants, are unmanned for long periods of time, so the right physical security measures are essential to protect the site and its assets via perimeter protection and access control.

To review physical security measures at your site, begin with a comprehensive Risk and Threat Assessment to not only identify potential threats but also prioritise them. Use the Onion Principle or 5 Ds: View your security as an intruder looking in, with the most valuable target at the centre, rather than as someone who knows the site looking out, to gain a comprehensive and objective view of your site’s security.

When assessing your site consider fencing height and construction, visibility and privacy, aesthetics - if necessary, and security requirements, for example certifications. There are also other factors to consider, such as noise reduction.

Security fencing for water treatment plants

We always recommend tested and certified security fencing and gates, such as LPS 1175 which protects against forced entry, and our Trident® range which protects against climbing and digging. Security fencing should be difficult to climb, not allow objects or contaminates to be passed through, and we recommend it is topped with security spikes or barbed wire.

Reducing noise from water treatment plants

Acoustic barriers are also ideal for water treatment plants as they do create noise. A humming noise can be heard from mechanical equipment used to clean water and sewage. With their anti-climb flat profile, timber acoustic barriers provide high security, privacy, and noise reduction of up to 32dB. We manufacture tested and certified acoustic barriers which have been specially designed with sites like this in mind. Following the Onion Principle or the 5 Ds, layer up your security by also installing PIDS and CCTV.

Acoustic barriers

Access control for water treatment plants

Access control measures are equally important as the fencing; monitoring people coming in and keeping unauthorised visitors out is essential to site security. Automated gates or barriers such as bi-folding speed gates provide rapid access and high security. These should be paired with traffic calming measures such as road blockers, rising bollards, or rising arm barriers. Ensure all automated products are CE accredited, and installed and regularly maintained by a professional.

Future-proof security fencing solutions

When investing in security fencing for a utilities site such as a water treatment plant, with such precious assets to protect as a significant clean water supply, it’s crucial to invest in a long-term solution, rather than compromising on price. Any security product must be fit-for-purpose and have undergone rigorous testing to ensure it offers a high standard of protection which won’t fail over time.

A combination of long lifetime service, like the unique Jacksons’ 25 year guarantee, and minimal maintenance is the most cost-effective solution, resulting in the best possible security for the lowest overall cost.

As well as a 25-year guarantee, Jacksons also offers consultative and maintenance services alongside our high-quality, security-rated products. Our holistic approach to fencing, gates and access control ensures a successful, bespoke outcome to suit any security needs. You can find out more about our water site security fencing and gates here, or read about our experience in securing a water treatment plant in the UK.

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From design and manufacturing to supply and installation, we can help you with your project. If you'd like to discuss anything in this article or need information or guidance, please feel free to contact us at any stage to discuss your requirements.