The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last month celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the National Homeland Security Research Center (NHSRC), established September 28, 2002, in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
EPA serves as the lead federal agency in charge of preparing the water sector for terrorist attacks and the lead agency for decontaminating indoor and outdoor areas following an attack. These areas include buildings, large public spaces such as airports, and wide outdoor areas such as stadiums.
Terrorist acts may involve chemical, biological, and radiological (CBR) agents not previously encountered as environmental pollutants. NHSRC biologists, chemists, engineers, risk assessors, and numerical modelers provide critical scientific research necessary to ensure national security in consideration such threats.
NHSRC’s water security research focuses on developing tools and applications that can provide warnings to water utilities in the event of terrorist attacks. Methods that help decontaminate water and wastewater infrastructure more rapidly and economically are also investigated.
The indoor and outdoor decontamination research section focuses on developing and testing tools, applications, and methods to clean up sites contaminated in a CBR attack. Research continues on contaminant behavior under different environmental conditions and how best to dispose of contaminated materials generated during site cleanup.
NHSRC also manages the EPA’s Technology Testing and Evaluation Program, conducting third-party performance evaluations of commercially available homeland security related technologies, which are tested against a range of performance characteristics and specifications. Technologies are evaluated for how effectively they can detect contaminants, treat drinking water, and decontaminate water distribution systems and indoor and outdoor areas.
Read more: NHSRC Director Jon Herrmann reflects on the work the center has done to strengthen national security over the past decade here.