EPA Water Security Division:  What’s Going On

Our colleagues at the Water Security Division have provided the following list of recently released tools designed to help the water community be better prepared, better able to respond, and better able to recover from emergencies of all descriptions.

Widgets Work for Water Preparedness

Add our Utility Preparedness widget to your site! Link your readers to preparedness tools, guidance and other resources. Just copy and paste the following code into your Web page:


Respond Smarter, Faster and On-The-Go!

EPA’s new Water Utility Response On-The-Go mobile website lets users track and monitor severe weather, contact key response partners, review and complete incident action checklists, and more: epa.gov/responseotg

Free Climate Workshops for the Water Utility Sector

Get hands-on training through EPA’s Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT) workshops to enhance your utility’s resilience to extreme weather and climate change: https://www.thetestportal.com/climateadaptation

Utilities and technical assistance providers can also register for EPA’s Coastal Resilience workshops:  https://www.thetestportal.com/coastalresilience

Strengthen Your Analytical Preparedness

What if your drinking water was contaminated? Is your analytical response plan ready? Check out  the Water Laboratory Alliance Response Plan (WLA-RP) to enhance your laboratory preparedness for water contamination incidents:


What’s Going On with Decon?

What are EPA and its partners doing to address decontamination efforts? Get the latest update! Progress on Water Sector Decontamination Recommendations & Proposed Strategic Plan



Water Sector Incident Action Checklists

Given the volatility of Mother Nature in recent weeks, ASDWA thought this might be a good time to remind everyone that our colleagues at EPA’s Water Security Division have created ten “rip & run” style checklists to facilitate emergency preparedness, response and recovery actions for water and wastewater utilities as a crisis is unfolding.  These checklists include background and reference information but also include practical, on the ground steps that a utility can take.  Click the links below for checklists that apply to droughts, earthquakes, extreme heat, flooding, tornadoes and wildfires…as well as several other emergency scenarios.



Climate Adaptation Training for Local Governments

EPA has released a new, online Climate Adaptation Training for Local Governments. The training module is designed to help local public officials, municipal staff, and community leaders prepare for the impacts that climate change may have on the services they provide to their communities. It includes examples of effective resilience strategies that have been successfully implemented in several cities and towns across the nation, and it also provides information and resources to help local government officials get started with adaptation planning in their own communities. While not devoted solely to water, the module does include a section on water and wastewater services and impacts.

The training module was developed through EPA’s Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations with advice from EPA’s Local Government Advisory Committee* (LGAC).  It is available online at:  www.epa.gov/localadaptationtraining. It will also be accessible through the U.S. Climate Resiliency Toolkit: https://toolkit.climate.gov/.  A training module flyer is linked here Training Module Flyer – Final that you may find useful in sharing these materials.

*The LGAC is a formal advisory committee comprised of elected or appointed local, state, or tribal government officials.  This FACA group reports directly to the Administrator.

Mitigation Planning Information Exchange Webinars

FEMA is partnering with the American Planning Association (APA) and the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) to offer a free, quarterly webinar series to share challenges, best practices, and evolving methods and techniques in hazard mitigation planning. The purpose of the webinar series is to encourage peer-to-peer learning and the exchange of information among a national and even international audience.

The first webinar in the series is titled The Role of Hazard Mitigation in Post-Disaster Recovery

DATE:  Wednesday, May 6, 2015

TIME:   4:00-5:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:  https://www.planning.org/nationalcenters/hazards/planninginformationexchange/

The planning information exchange will focus on multi-hazard mitigation planning but also emphasize its connections with recovery planning and preparedness. APA and ASFPM will act as co-conveners of all webinars and will select topics and presenters. Participants can earn one continuing education credit through APA and ASFPM.  The American Planning Association website (use the link above) also offers more information about upcoming webinars.

Learn More About Extreme Weather and Coastal Resilience

If you are interested in learning more about mitigating the impacts of extreme weather or have a particular interest in finding ways to be more resilient in the face of strong storm surges or hurricane impacts, then EPA’s Water Security Division has two opportunities for you.  During June and July, a series of workshops and train the trainer events will be taking place in seven different states.  The workshops and training events are free of charge…but you must register in advance to participate.

Series One offers two-day train-the-trainer sessions that focus on how technical assistance providers can use two new EPA tools to help utilities understand and adapt to impacts from coastal storm events and related threats.  Four locations – Boca Raton, FL, Houston, TX, Mobile, AL, and West Babylon, NY – are where you can go to learn about using these tools.

Click this link for more information:  Train the Trainer Flyer_FINAL_4 16 15

Series Two looks at CREAT, the Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool.  Through hands on training, participants will learn more about enhancing resilience to extreme weather events and long term climate change impacts.  These trainings are scheduled to take place in Pueblo of Santa Ana, NM, Portland, OR, and Des Moines, IA.

Click this link for more information of the training and to see a draft agenda for the training: Extreme Events Workshops Save-Date for Associations

Cyber Concerns for Water

Although DHS reports that, overall, the number of cyberattacks in 2014 that targeted critical infrastructure decreased by 9 percent over the previous year, the fact remains that cyber threats to power grids, oil pipelines, and other key systems continues to grow. The Industrial Control Systems-Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) 2014 Year in Review report also explains that about 32 percent of all cyber security incidents reported to them in 2014 come from the energy sector – the single largest target among all 16 critical infrastructure sectors.  Slightly less than 15 percent come from the water sector.

While the reported incidents can range from simple phishing to significant and chronic software hacking and hijacking attacks, water sector utilities need to be vigilant about the potential impacts to their own abilities to function from these energy-centered attacks.  State primacy agencies, likewise, need to better understand the energy-water nexus if the worst comes to pass.  Education and awareness about cyber security threats and consequences are our collective responsibility.

To learn more about the cyber issues and concerns across all of the critical infrastructure sectors, go to https://ics-cert.us-cert.gov/sites/default/files/documents/ICS-CERT%20YIR%202014.pdf.

From Texas to Maine, NOAA’s Expanded Flood Information Tool Promotes Resilience

A NOAA flood exposure risk mapping tool that was developed in New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania has now been expanded to cover coastal areas along the entire U.S. East Coast and Gulf of Mexico. The Coastal Flood Exposure Mapper, a deliverable of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, provides users with maps, data, and information to assess risks and vulnerabilities related to coastal flooding and hazards. According to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau population count, 39 percent of the U.S. population lives in counties subject to significant coastal flooding.  This mapping tool visualizes anticipated flood effects, thereby aiding preparation for coastal storms.

With this NOAA tool, users select their location and the flood scenario of their choosing: Federal Emergency Management Agency flood designations, shallow coastal flooding associated with high tides, or flooding associated with sea level rise or storm surge. Flood maps are then overlaid with any of three exposure maps to show how floodwaters might impact area assets. All maps can be saved, printed, and shared.

  • The societal exposure map provides information on population density, poverty, the elderly, employees, and projected population growth. Communities can use this information for community planning and to determine how floodwaters might affect vulnerable or concentrated populations.
  • Roads, bridges, water, and sewer systems can be damaged by coastal flooding. Communities can use the mapper to assess infrastructure vulnerabilities and associated environmental and economic issues to determine what steps are needed to protect these assets.
  • The ecosystem exposure map provides data and information about natural areas and open spaces—including their proximity to development — to help communities identify which areas can be conserved for future flood protection benefits. Pollution sources are also identified to show where natural resources could be affected during a flood.

This map tool was developed by the NOAA Office for Coastal Management.

April 30 is National PrepareAthon! Day

Twice a year, a national day of action, National PrepareAthon! Day, focuses attention to the importance of creating a more resilient Nation by bringing stakeholders, communities, and individuals together to take action and join the conversation on resilience. April 30 marks the date for the first 2015 National PrepareAthon! Day.  This year’s event will focus on being better prepared for natural disasters such as floods, wildfires, hurricanes, and tornadoes.

You are encouraged to share this information with your colleagues in the water community.  Is your city, town, village, or community of whatever type ready to withstand Mother Nature?  Want to know more about your options?  Interested in being part of this year’s National PreparAthon! Day?  Take a look at these resources at www.ready.gov/prepare:

  • How to Prepare: This hazard-specific guide provides information on the basics for a range of hazards, how to protect yourself and your property, and what steps to take now.
  • Prepare Your Organization Playbooks tailored to each hazard: These materials are designed to provide community leaders and employers with tools and resources to support participation.
  • Fact sheets, background information, customizable promotional materials, and fill-in-the-blank template outreach materials: These resources encourage participation and promote involvement.

Additional resources and more information about this event are available on the FEMA website.  Go to http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/94719 and take a look!

Preparation is Power: A Training Tools Webinar

EPA’s Water Security Division is hosting a webinar to walk interested members of the water community through a number of recently developed tools.  You are invited to join WSD to learn how to use:

  • the new On-the-Go Mobile Website,
  • incident action checklists, and
  • the Scenario-based Projection and Storm Surge Maps.

These tools and resources are designed to help support a utility through all types of emergencies.

DATE:  May 13, 2015

TIME:  2:00-3:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:  https://usepa-waterutility-webinar.eventbrite.com

NOTE:  Using this registration format will provide you with a “ticket” that you should consider as a placeholder for the event.  At a later date, you will receive more information that includes a web link and dial in number for the webinar itself.


How Well Will You Coordinate with Your Lab in an Emergency?

There’s still time to find out.  There are two remaining 2015 Water Laboratory Alliance Tabletop Exercise Webcasts.  You are invited to register today.

DATES:            April 15 and May 14, 2015

TIMES:             Both from 10:00AM – Noon (eastern)

REGISTER:      http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/watersecurity/wla/training.cfm.

These webcasts are hosted EPA and examine the coordination of laboratory services in response to a drinking water contamination incident. The scenario-based exercises provide utilities, state and local governments, emergency responders and laboratory personnel with the opportunity to answer questions based on their real-life experiences and knowledge of emergency response practices and procedures contained in the Water Laboratory Alliance Response Plan (WLA-RP). Exercise participants will receive first-hand experience with Water Sector emergency response “best practices” and water security tools and resources.

Please forward this email to any of your colleagues or other Response Partners that you feel would benefit from this training exercise.

Over 350 people participated in the first twelve webcasts of this series conducted between March 2014 and March 2015. The following is some of the feedback we have received:

     State Drinking Water Agency Participant: “We like the way that the exercise was conducted.  …it was interactive, we could see the responses, and it was the perfect length of time.”

     Water Utility Participant: “This is one of the best webinars I’ve ever participated in. The additional resources were great.”

     Water Utility Participant: “We learned a great deal during the course of this scenario. The step-by-step question and answer process was very helpful.”

     Water Utility Participant: “Very helpful, great participation from attendees.”

     Laboratory Participant: “Very good exercise. A fun way to spend a couple hours!”