Water Utility Secured With HD Video Surveillance

Following a recent security review, Northshore Utility District has deployed an IndigoVision site-wide integrated IP video surveillance system using HD cameras to help it combat terrorism and improve public and staff safety. The integrated solution was designed and installed by IndigoVision’s Partner, Reliable Security Sound & Data, which also has been the district’s designated security vendor for many years.

Northshore Utility District is a special-purpose water and sewer utility located at the Northeast end of Lake Washington in King County, Wash. The district encompasses more than 17 square miles and serves more than 65,000 people. With 263 miles of sewer pipe, 15 lift stations, 260 miles of water main, 3 water pumping stations and eight water storage facilities with a combined capacity of 29 million gallons, Northshore creates a demanding security environment. This requires a distributed solution that can stream high-quality surveillance video over large distances.

The new system replaced analog surveillance equipment that was end-of-life and delivered poor quality video, as Stephen Schommer, P.E., the district’s information systems and technology director explained: “There were a number of instances where the old surveillance system caught perpetrators close up on camera, but we still couldn’t get a clear picture for identification. In contrast, the new IndigoVision HD cameras provide us with amazing video quality. In some cases, it’s like looking out of the window.”

A combination of 38 HD and standard-definition cameras has been installed at the main site headquarters and at five remote pumping station/reservoir sites, the furthest being more than 5 miles away. Operators using Control Center, IndigoVision’s security management software, can view live and recorded video from any camera. Video is recorded on stand-alone RAID-5 NVRs.

IndigoVision’s distributed architecture allows any camera, video workstation or NVR to be located at any point on the network. Video from the headquarters and each of the remote sites is recorded onto locally installed NVRs. Live and archived video from the remote sites is accessed over a standard broadband link by operators at the main site. The ability to deliver HD video across low bandwidth network links is made possible because of IndigoVision’s compression technology.

“Since starting Reliable Security in 1980, I have waited 30 years to see video this good,” said Bill Miller, president of Reliable Security Sound & Data. “What makes it even better are the very low bit rates that the HD cameras are using, which range from around 1 to 2.5 MBps depending on the amount of scene motion.”

Another important system needed for homeland security is electronic access control. Alongside the IP video, Reliable Security installed a Maxxess access control system, which has been seamlessly integrated with IndigoVision’s solution over the IP network. This was achieved via an integration module in Control Center and creates a more efficient and responsive operator environment. Through the advanced alarm handling facilities in Control Center, alarms from both security systems are consolidated into one universal operator interface. This allows alarms from one system to trigger events in the other. Cameras currently monitor all access control card readers, and each card swipe is bookmarked with the recorded video, providing a complete visual audit of all people entering and leaving the various facilities.

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