Haestad Methods announced today the rapid and timely release of the proceedings from the first-of-its-kind Water Security Summit 2001 held in Hartford, Connecticut, on December 3 and 4.
More than 600 water utility and government officials from around the world crowded into Hartford, Connecticut, to hear 30 experts discuss security measures to prevent a potential bioterrorist attack on the nation's water supply. Speakers and attendees explored water system vulnerabilities; discussed guidelines for implementing security plans; and reviewed existing federal, state, and private resources.
The complete set of proceedings will allow the information presented at the summit to be distributed to the 2,000 water officials who had to be turned away due to lack of space at the facility in Hartford. This information will comprise speaker presentations and panel discussions including comprehensive guidelines on how to protect water supply infrastructures against terrorist and natural disasters. The topics of the proceedings focus on the theme of the summit, "Prevent, Detect, Respond," including how to:
Assess the vulnerability of water systems;
Obtain state and federal funding for infrastructure protection;
Develop strategies for decreasing exposure to attacks;
Identify and mitigate physical, chemical, and biological threats;
Develop emergency management plans;
Implement warning, monitoring, and detection technologies;
Apply hydraulic models to assess system vulnerability and emergency response capabilities.
Highlights of the summit include Peter S. Beering, Esq., Deputy General Counsel, IWC Resources Corporation, opening the first day by urging professionals to make common sense decisions in response to the threat of a terrorist attack on our water systems. "There is no such thing as an immune jurisdiction," he said, as he outlined various weapons of mass destruction.
"Having this summit and establishing relationships among the many professionals at this conference is one of the first steps in a measured response against the threat of a terrorist attack on our water systems," Beering continued.
Another critical issue identified at the summit is funding for water security. With 168,000 public water systems in the United States and 16,000 publicly owned treatment works with over 600,000 miles of sewer lines in service, even modest remedial security measures will result in the need for large scale funding on a national basis.
Ben Grumbles, Deputy Chief of Staff, Committee on Science, U.S. House of Representatives, and Catharine Cyr Ransom, Professional Staff Member, Committee on Environment and Public Works, U.S. Senate, spoke about the water security research bills (H.R. 3178 and S. 1593, the Water Infrastructure Security and Research Development Act).
"The bills respond to the need to fill existing research gaps and develop long-term strategies and technological tools for combating terrorism," said Grumbles.
In a televised interview, John Haestad, President and CEO of Haestad Methods, addressed the benefits of investing into water security by stating that there are, "Definite secondary health and monetary benefits from public investment into water security. Many of the same principles that apply to preventing, detecting, and responding to biochemical attacks also apply to mitigating accidental contamination events like those we've seen in the United States and Canada in recent years."
Haestad continued, "The same cutting edge calibration technology water authorities are obtaining to more accurately simulate contamination events, results in significant operational, infrastructure, and energy cost savings for communities."
Thomas Walski, Ph.D., P.E., Vice President of Engineering for Haestad Methods, demonstrated how water distribution modeling could be used to respond once it is known or suspected that a contaminant has entered the distribution system. He described how the model could be used to determine the safest, most effective way to flush the contaminant out of the system. "Knowing how to properly model contamination in response to an actual attack will significantly reduce clean-up costs and exposure risks to the community," said Walski.
Some of the other presenters included: Rolf Deininger, Ph.D., expert in growth and decay of waterborne biological agents and Professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health; James Doane, P.E., one of two AWWA representatives appointed to the Water Critical Infrastructure Protection Advisory Group (CIP) set up by the President of the United States; Jacobo Sack, Chief Water Quality Engineer Mekorot, the National Water Company, Israel; Jeffrey Aramini, Ph.D., Senior Epidemiologist with Health Canada; Peter Stoks, Ph.D., Head of Water Quality, WRK Water Works, The Netherlands; and Rhys Lewis, Ph.D., Director, Instrumentation Division, Severn Trent Services, United Kingdom. For a complete account of presenters and an overview of presentations, visit www.watersecurity.org.
Walski's remarks reflect the summit consensus, "While our water systems are quite robust, they are not entirely invulnerable. Emergency planning can prevent or minimize the effect of an attack."