What is EPA Doing to Protect the Nation's Water Infrastructure?

December 20, 2001

EPA's Water Protection Task Force with assistance from EPA Regions and external partners are taking many actions to improve the security of the nation's drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. The actions fall in six major categories.

 


Tools


Alerts and Notices--

sent to all utilities and local law enforcement outlining security measures to be put in place expeditiously, resources available and advice on monitoring and treatment. Seven notices have been sent to date to both water and wastewater utilities. More are in development.

Employee Checks--

names from the FBI's watch lists were sent to utilities to compare to their lists of employees.

Vulnerability Assessments and Remediation Plans--

tools for drinking water utilities have been developed by Sandia National Laboratory and are being tested at several large utilities. Tools for wastewater utilities are in development by the Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies.

Model Emergency Operations Plans

--this tool is being developed for both waste and drinking water systems, and is expected to be completed in January.

 


Training


General Security Overview-

training developed through partnership with American Water Works Association (AWWA) started mid-November 2001 covers an entire spectrum of security issues including assessing vulnerabilities, emergency response plans and risk communication. Several modes will be used: workshops, webcast, hard copy for distribution and online program. For more information, including dates of the workshops, see AWWA's web-site http://www.awwa.org/.

Vulnerability Assessment Overview-

detailed presentation on what constitutes an effective vulnerability assessment for drinking water utilities will be offered on Nov. 27, 2001. Videotapes will be available for those who cannot attend the satellite broadcast. This training was made possible through partnership with the American Water Works Association Research Foundation and Sandia National Laboratory.

Implementing Vulnerability Assessments-

three-day in-depth workshops will allow utilities to apply the vulnerability assessment methodology to their systems. These workshops are by invitation only and made possible through a partnership with the American Water Works Association Research Foundation and Sandia National Laboratory.

Other training is being developed for wastewater utilities through a partnership with the Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies and the Water Environment Federation.

 


Information Sharing


In partnership with the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies and the FBI, EPA is developing a secure Information Sharing and Analysis Center. The prototype of this system is an email-tree system that already serves well. It has provided alerts and notices to all drinking water and waste water utilities.

 


Research


EPA is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Defense to develop a state-of-the-knowledge account for the National Security Council on biological, chemical and radiological contaminants, and how to respond to their presence in drinking water. This information will help provide information to utilities on important topics such as:

* Technologies to detect contaminants.

* Monitoring protocols and techniques.

* Treatment effectiveness.

* Health effects.

 


Networking


EPA realizes that the safeguarding of the nation's drinking water is not entirely in our hands, although we play a critical role. Besides collaborating with CDC and Department of Defense on research, EPA is working with other partners that can help:

* Working with the Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation and others to ensure that water supplies are well protected from source to tap.

* Working with Department of Transportation on interdependency issues.

* Working with FEMA and FBI and other National Response Team agencies to improve emergency response capabilities.

* Working with States, local governments, and utility associations to improve coordination and information dissemination.

In addition, EPA Regions are working with states and drinking water utilities in several different ways to help the utilities in their efforts to better secure the nation's drinking water supply.

Source:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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