Madison and Dane County officials announced last week the
implementation of a plan to protect water quality by enhancing security at
local water utility sites.

The $485,000 system installed 32 security cameras at Madison
Water Utility sites to provide pump operators with a continuous view of each
facility, according to a release from Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and Dane County
Executive Kathleen Falk.

?The safety of
our drinking water is vitally important,? Cieslewicz said in the statement.
?This new system will provide us with real-time surveillance of critical water
utility facilities, providing an additional level of security for the
community.?

The security system was funded by a $388,000 grant from the
Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance in 2007, and Madison Water Utility
provided the remaining $97,000.

?Dane County is
always looking to leverage state and federal dollars to help our local
communities,? County Executive Kathleen Falk said in a statement.??We were
happy to assist the city of Madison improve this important piece of
infrastructure.?

Installation began in fall 2007, and final adjustments will
be completed this month. Ald. Paul Skidmore, District 9, said security cameras
are good to prevent water contamination.

?I?d really hate to think it might happen,? he said. ?Why
would someone want to poison us??

The security cameras provide 24-hour surveillance and alarm
notifications, allowing pump operators to make ?real-time security decisions?
in the event of an emergency.

Skidmore said the topic of surveillance raises controversy,
but he does not have ?a philosophical problem that we are intruding on a person?s
property, not for this situation.?

?Is the camera the only way? No,? Skidmore said.

It is also important, he added, that buildings are secure
with layers of locks, and also that personnel are well-trained and ports of
entry to buildings are lit at night.

?I think it?s safe to say there have been breaches in security
in other city buildings,? he said. ?But we do the best we can.?