In response to increasing concern that utility managers must be aware of ways to protect their systems and staff, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) announced last week that it will conduct a series of security training sessions for utility managers.
Funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), these free one-day workshops will be held at locations throughout the country between March and May. The workshops will address how to assess vulnerabilities, mitigate security threats, and react in the event of a crisis.
"Today's utility managers need to be concerned with the prevention of service interruptions and the protection of infrastructure assets from a wide range of threats," said Water Environment Federation president James Clark. "Knowledge, planning, and preparedness are the keys, and WEF, with support from the EPA, is pleased to provide utilities and wastewater professionals with the tools and information needed to protect public health and the environment from security threats."
The principles covered in the workshops will assist professionals from utilities of all sizes to assess and prioritize asset vulnerabilities including to the physical plant, knowledge base, employees, information technology, and customers. The training format will include presentations on vulnerability assessment approaches, interactive exercises, and case studies from utility managers who have conducted (or are planning) a vulnerability assessment.
The first workshop in this series will be held March 6 in Boston, Mass. Confirmed sessions also include Indianapolis, Ind. on March 19; Sacramento, Calif. on April 2; Dallas, Texas on May 1; and Atlanta, Ga. on May 9. A session in Denver, Colo. is tentatively scheduled for mid-to-late April. Schedule and location updates, as well as registration information, can be found online at www.wef.org/Publicinfo/WEFsecurity.jhtml  .
The Boston event, held with the assistance of the New England Water Environment Association, will feature a keynote address by EPA Region I Administrator Robert Varney, and a utility case study presented by John Vetere, director, wastewater treatment plant, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (Boston).
Kenneth Rubin, senior partner, PA Consulting Group and Daniel Rees, vice president, SCIENTECH, Inc. will be lead instructors at the Boston workshop. Rubin has 25 years experience working with water and wastewater utilities on the management, economics, and finance of public infrastructure. He recently designed a risk-based vulnerability planning, response, and recovery program for wastewater utilities and is managing the preparation of software for implementation of these techniques. Rees has 30 years experience working with utilities in the areas of safety, security and risk assessment. He is currently developing a wastewater utility security vulnerability methodology and software, and has performed risk assessments at high-risk facilities throughout the world.
Founded in 1928, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization with members from varied disciplines who work toward the WEF vision of preservation and enhancement of the global water environment. The WEF network includes more than 100,000 water quality professionals from 79 Member Associations in 32 countries.