EPA Publishes New Flood Resilience Guide for Water and Wastewater Utilities

EPA’s Water Security Division is pleased to announce the release of their newest tool called Flood Resilience: A Basic Guide for Water and Wastewater Utilities. Drinking water and wastewater utilities are particularly vulnerable to flooding, which can damage pumps, disconnect chemical tanks, break distribution lines and disrupt power supplies. Targeted to small and medium utilities, the Flood Resilience Guide outlines a simple, 4-step assessment process to help any water utility understand their flooding threat and identify practical mitigation options to protect their critical assets. With a user-friendly layout, the Guide provides worksheets, instructional videos, and flood maps to help utilities through the process. For outreach to the water sector, EPA has partnered with Rural Water organizations in several states to co-present training on flood resilience.  EPA also intends to conduct a national webinar to further promote the Flood Resilience Guide. You can download the tool from EPA’s website at water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity.

COOP Plans for Labs

On Thursday, September 19, 2014, EPA’s Water Security Division (EPA WSD) and ASDWA hosted a joint webcast on the Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) Template for Drinking Water and Wastewater Laboratories. Developed by EPA’s WSD Water Laboratory Alliance (WLA) team, the COOP Template is designed to help state, utility, and private laboratories enhance the reliability of critical laboratory operations during a crisis.

The “star” of the webcast was the demo of a soon-to-be-available Labs COOP Template Fillable Form which will streamline adding or deleting elements or updates to the original COOP.  Meanwhile, an instructions document on creating a lab-appropriate COOP is already available on WLA’s website (see the link below).   More than 40 participants from state primacy agencies and laboratories registered for the webcast to learn about the benefits of developing a laboratory COOP and to view the demo.  For those who were unable to join us last week, ASDWA will be posting the presentation and the recorded webcast on the Security Page of the ASDWA website www.asdwa.org as soon as they are available.

Two additional webcasts geared specifically for laboratories have been scheduled for October 23, 2014 and January 15, 2014 (1-2pm ET). Registration will be live shortly at: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/wla/training.cfm#live

The Instructions for Continuity of Operations Plan Template for Drinking Water and Wastewater Laboratories can be accessed at: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/wla/index.cfm.

If you have any questions, please email WLA@epa.gov.

SAFETY Act Webinar – VSAT 6.0 Wins Designation

The DHS Science and Technology Directorate is conducting a SAFETY (Support Antiterrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies) Act webinar titled “Streamlined Processing for SAFETY Act Applications.” The webinar will focus on established streamlined procedures for providing SAFETY Act coverage such as Block Designations and Pre-Qualification Designation Notices.

This is significant because the latest updates to water utility vulnerability self assessment tool (VSAT 6.0) has just been released and given a SAFETY Act designation.  Per that designation, “Entities using VSAT 6.0 to conduct risk assessments of water, wastewater or combined utilities may apply for SAFETY Act protections, which can limit liability for claims resulting from an act of terrorism.”

DATE:  Thursday, September 25

TIME:   2:00-3:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:  https://share.dhs.gov/safetyact092514event/event/registration.html)
Click this link 140904 VSAT Promotionsl Sheet for more information on the new updates and features for VSAT 6.0.

September 30 is the National Day of Action for America’s PreparAthon!

First created in 2013, America’s PrepareAthon! is a nationwide, community-based campaign to increase emergency preparedness and resilience through hazard-specific drills, group discussions, and exercises.

The second national PrepareAthon! Day is September 30, 2014 and will revolve around taking the actions to prepare for these six specific hazards: earthquake, flood, hurricane, tornado, wildfire, and winter storm.

The goal of this campaign is to increase the number of individuals who:

  • Understand which disasters could happen in their community
  • Know what to do to be safe and mitigate damage
  • Take action to increase their preparedness
  • Participate in community resilience planning

Want to know more?  Want to participate?  FEMA has developed a number of resources for guides, activities, and other outreach materials to support this second National PrepareAthon event.  To learn more and to register, go to http://www.community.fema.gov/connect.ti/AmericasPrepareathon/groupHome and sign up today.

Water-Public Health Partners Webinar

EPA is hosting a webinar to highlight the need for coordination between water utilities and their public health partners if there is a suspicion of a possible water contamination incident.  This is the reciprocal of the February 2014 webinar that focused on the health care aspects of a possible incident.

DATE:  Tuesday, September 16

TIME:   2:00-3:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER: Click this link https://www.thetestportal.com/public/alsded+portal_apps.phs_util.p_index

The webinar is designed to:  provide an overview of potential sources of water contamination; cover the relationship of contaminant types and potential utility and public health data signals; and describe methods for improving communication and coordination with public health partners.

Have a Good Story to Share?  Let AWWA Know

[Editor’s Note:  Although the official AWWA deadline is tomorrow, they are willing to extend the timeframe if you have a great idea, program, technique, or experience to share.  Just let them know ASAP.]

AWWA is drafting their 2015 Webinar Program.  Webinars are a great way to reach a broad range of your peers across the nation on topics that matterContact Lindsey Geiger (lgeiger@awwa.org) today if you would like a proposal form.

The 2015 lineup will highlight areas of critical interest, including:

  • Utility Management and Finances
  • Regulatory Issues
  • Water Quality and Treatment
  • Workforce Strategies
  • Infrastructure Replacement and Renewal
  • Sustainable Infrastructure
  • Distribution and Plant Operations
  • Water Loss
  • Communicating the Value of Water
  • Wastewater
  • Reuse
  • Stormwater
  • Water Resources
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Small Systems

Please share your good efforts – we all benefit from learning what our peers are doing!

EPA Releases VSAT 6.0

EPA developed the Vulnerability Self-Assessment Tool (VSAT) to assist water and wastewater utilities of all sizes with determining vulnerabilities to both man-made and natural hazards and with evaluating potential improvements to enhance their security and resiliency.  As an update to earlier versions, VSAT 6.0 has been designed to be consistent with the ANSI/AWWA J100-10 Risk Analysis and Management for Critical Asset Protection (RAMCAP®)Standard for Risk and Resilience Management of Water and Wastewater Systems. To meet this standard, VSAT 6.0 includes quantitative risk and resilience  metrics, asset prioritization and a new threat category to assess interdependencies.

To assist small systems and new users in building an assessment, VSAT now includes a new Analysis Wizard with abbreviated lists and default assignments for common utility assets, countermeasures, and threats. Plus, data from earlier assessments made with SEMS (Security and Emergency Management System) can be imported directly into VSAT.

Go to http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/techtools/vsat.cfm to learn more about VSAT and to access both basic and advanced training videos on its use.  For general questions and assistance, send an email request to  VSATHelp@epa.gov

EPA strongly encourages water and wastewater utility owners and operators to use VSAT 6.0 to conduct or update an all-hazards risk assessment.

DHS Webinar Series on Critical Infrastructure Security

The Department of Homeland Security Office of Infrastructure Protection And The Regional Consortium Coordinating Council Present:

A Joint Critical Infrastructure Partnership Webinar Series

Each hour-long session is designed to assist critical infrastructure owners and operators, physical security and information security professionals, Chief Information Officers, risk managers, business continuity planners, information technology directors, and local homeland security and emergency management staff in their efforts to enhance the preparation, security, and resilience of communities and their critical infrastructure assets.


Preparedness: September 23 & 30, 2014

Preparedness: Topics are designed to assist private industry and governmental partners and any other critical infrastructure practitioners in enhancing their preparation and resilience efforts:
• Risk Management – Learn from a panel of Minnesota-based Critical Infrastructure practitioners that includes Grant Hosmer, Critical Infrastructure Coordinator for the City of Minneapolis, Glenn Sanders, DHS Protective Security Advisor for Minnesota, and the Downtown Security Executive Group, who will discuss infrastructure resilience planning, and threat assessment associated with large-scale public events such as the 2014 Major League Baseball All Star Game by leveraging public/private partnerships and strategically utilizing risk management tools and resources.
• Training Resources – Christy Magee, Chief of the DHS/IP Stakeholder Education and Training Section, will review training offered by DHS/IP related to security awareness as well as foundational courses available to industry practitioners on critical infrastructure security and resilience.
Register Today! http://www.govevents.com/word-redir.php?id=13964


Cybersecurity Awareness: October 21 & 23, 2014

Cybersecurity Awareness: Topics provide background information about reviewing cyber resilience capabilities, improving information sharing, and evaluating security needs for protecting our local and regional cyber assets:
• Awareness – Learn from the DHS Office of Cybersecurity and Communications how industry and government can serve as strategic partners in two national public awareness and cyber risk management efforts (Stop-Think-Connect and the C3 Voluntary Program) that are aligning business enterprises and local governments to manage cyber risks, better understand cyber threats, and empower the American public to be safer and more secure online.
• Assessment – Hear from industry and government practitioners who have successfully utilized cybersecurity exercises, cyber evaluations, or Cyber Resilience Reviews (CRRs) to improve cyber resilience.

Register Today! http://www.govevents.com/word-redir.php?id=13963


Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience: November 18 & 20, 2014

Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience: Topics focus on tools and resources for improving the overall security of a critical infrastructure asset or facility:
• Public/Private Partnerships – A panel comprised of representatives from industry and local government will share innovative best practices from public/private partnerships they have collaboratively developed related to critical infrastructure security and resilience.
• Exercises – Learn from DHS and local critical infrastructure practitioners about scenarios and exercise plans that have been successfully developed to address the most salient threats to local communities, enhancing their ability to respond to and recover from all- hazard events.

Register Today! http://www.govevents.com/word-redir.php?id=13965

WaterISAC Hosts Free Webcast on Cybersecurity Assessments and DHS Tools

DHS has released an updated version (6.1) of its downloadable Cyber Security Evaluation Tool (CSET) and the WaterISAC is hosting a webinar to showcase the updated tool as well as other cybersecurity tools and services.  There is no charge to attend this event and it is open to all interested parties.

DATE:  Wednesday, August 20

TIME:   2:00-3:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:  Click this link Register Now

The webinar will cover three tools:

  • CSET: A desktop software tool that can produce a prioritized list of recommendations for improving the cybersecurity posture of an organization’s enterprise and industrial control systems. The tool provides users with a systematic and repeatable approach for assessing the security posture of their cyber systems and networks. It includes both high-level and detailed questions related to all industrial control and IT systems. The most significant change for this version involves the integration of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework.
  • ICS-CERT: CERT’s onsite industrial control system assessment program; and
  • Cyber Resilience Review (CRR): A non-technical assessment that can evaluate an organization’s operational resilience and cybersecurity practices. From DHS’s Cyber Security Evaluation Program, the CRR is meant to complement the NIST Cybersecurity Framework and may be conducted as a self-assessment or as an on-site assessment facilitated by DHS cybersecurity professionals.

FEMA Hosts Webinars on New National Protection Framework

Please mark your calendars for an upcoming virtual roundtable hosted by FEMA and the Office of Infrastructure Protection regarding the release of the National Protection Framework and Federal Interagency Operational Plans (FIOP) as well as the NIPP 2013. All webinars will be open to the whole community.  You do not need to pre-register. These virtual roundtables will provide an overview on how to develop and implement protection plans under the guidance of the National Protection Framework and the NIPP 2013.

DATES:     August 26        September 2      September 3

TIMES:      11AM-Noon    11AM-Noon       Noon-1:00PM   (all times Eastern)

DIAL/PIN:  800-369-1725/5116984

LINK:      (8/26)   https://share.dhs.gov/nipp2013npfaug26/

(9/2)     https://share.dhs.gov/nipp2013npfsept2/

(9/3)     https://share.dhs.gov/nipp2013npfsept3/

ACCESS:  Enter as a GUEST

The National Protection Framework http://www.fema.gov/national-protection-framework-0 describes what the whole community should do to safeguard against acts of terrorism, natural disasters, and other threats or hazards. The whole community includes:  individuals (including those with disabilities and others with access and functional needs), businesses and nonprofits, faith-based and community groups, schools, and all levels of government. The Protection Framework also describes the core capabilities; roles and responsibilities; and coordinating structures that facilitate the protection of individuals, communities, and the Nation. This Framework is focused on actions to protect against the greatest risks in a manner that allows American interests, aspirations, and way of life to thrive.

You may also find these documents helpful National_Protection_Framework_Stakeholder_Advisory_20140730


Questions? Please email: PPD8-engagement@fema.dhs.gov.