RECENT EPA HOMELAND SECURITY RESEARCH WATER SECURITY PRODUCTS

From time to time, ASDWA receives very helpful updates from our colleagues at EPA’s National Homeland Security Research Center (NHSRC).  And, as they have reminded us this time, “Many of our products have multiple uses, not just homeland security applications.”  Please take a few moments to read through this impressive product list and consider how you can make the connections between these tools and products and other aspects of your drinking water program.

COMPUTER TOOLS

Threat Ensemble Vulnerability Assessment- Sensor Placement Optimization Tool (Teva-Spot) Graphical User InterfaceUpdated software

The original TEVA-SPOT software guided utilities in selecting the optimal number and location of water quality sensors to best meet their monitoring and security needs. The Consequence and Vulnerability Assessment Tool greatly improves this software by providing functions that enable utilities to make informed risk assessment and risk management decisions related to contamination events or operational upsets in water distribution systems (WDS). The tool can be used to prepare for events or to guide response as events are occurring.

PBPK Literature Visualization Project: ModelMapSoftware

Physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modeling is a mathematical modeling technique for predicting the absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion of synthetic or natural chemical substances in humans and other animal species. PBPK modeling is used in pharmaceutical research and drug development, and in health risk assessment. This second generation computational and informatics tools can be used to automatically organize and give rapid access to the body of PBPK modeling literature.

I-WASTE online tutorial

I-WASTE was developed to address waste management information gaps. I-WASTE provides information on types and volumes of waste materials and potential contaminants generated during an incident, location and contact information for potential treatment/disposal facilities, as well as health and safety information to ensure public and worker safety during the removal, transport, treatment, and disposal of contaminated waste and debris. The online tutorial was developed to assist EPA’s On Scene Coordinators and others in the use of the tool.

PRODUCTS THAT SUPPORT PLANNING FOR EMERGENCIES

Protecting Water Supply Critical Infrastructure: An OverviewBook chapter

This book chapter discusses the general principles and characteristics of water and wastewater system security. The chapter also summarizes current research as it relates to system security, focusing on intentional threats to water systems.

PRODUCTS SUPPORT DETECTION AND ANALYSIS

Configuring Online Monitoring Event Detection SystemsReport

CANARY is an EPA-developed software that enhances the detection of contamination incidents in drinking water distribution systems. One of the challenges to more widespread use of the software is the configuration process. This report presents a set of rule-of-thumb configuration parameters that can be used by water utilities as they start to use the software. In addition, a logical process is laid out for a more comprehensive approach to selecting configuration parameters.

Real-Time Analysis of Moisture and Flow Data to Describe Wet Weather Response in a Permeable Pavement Parking LotSymposium Paper

CANARY event detection software was used for the purposes of detecting and identifying system response to rainfall in a permeable pavement stormwater underdrain in an academic parking lot in Cincinnati, OH. The results show that the software, originally designed for water quality detection in drinking water systems, proved adept at identifying a change in both underdrain flow and subsurface moisture in response to precipitation.

LabLogic Radiation Detection Online Water Quality Monitoring SystemReport

The purpose of this report is to provide EPA testing results of an on line radiation monitor for drinking water called the Beta Ram (B- Ram) by LabLogic Inc. Previous water monitoring systems have not been able to detect radiation at or near Protective Action Guides based upon 500 mrem/yr. This device using a scintillation principle of detection was able to detect at these lower activity levels. This information will help inform buyer decisions in the marketplace

Quantitative Analysis and Stability of the Rodenticide TETS (Tetramine) in Finished Tap WaterJournal Article

The determination of the rodenticide tetramethylenedisulfotetramine (TETS) in drinking water is reportable through the use of automated sample preparation via solid phase extraction and detection using isotope dilution gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The method was characterized over twenty-two analytical batches with quality control samples. Accuracies for low and high concentration quality control pools were 100 and 101%, respectively. The minimum reporting level (MRL) for TETS in this method is 0.50 ug/L. Five drinking waters, representing a range of water quality parameters and disinfection practices, were fortified with TETS at ten times the MRL and analyzed over a 28 day period to determine the stability of TETS in these waters. The amount of TETS measured in these samples averaged 100 ± 6% of the amount fortified suggesting that tap water samples may be held for up to 28 days prior to analysis.

PRODUCTS THAT SUPPORT THE TREATMENT OF WATER AND/OR DECONTAMINATION OF WATER INFRASTRUCTURE

Decontamination of Chemical Agents from Drinking Water Infrastructure: A Literature Review and Summary

This report summarizes the current state of knowledge on the persistence of chemical contamination on drinking water infrastructure along with information on decontamination should persistence occur. Decontamination options for drinking water infrastructure have been explored for some chemical contaminants, but important data gaps remain. In general, data on chemical persistence on drinking water infrastructure is available for inorganics such as arsenic and mercury, as well as select organics such as petroleum products, pesticides and rodenticides. Data specific to chemical warfare agents and pharmaceuticals was not found and data on toxins is scant. Future research suggestions focus on expanding the available chemical persistence data to other common drinking water infrastructure materials. Decontaminating agents that successfully removed persistent contamination from one infrastructure material should be used in further studies.

Decontamination of Biological Agents from Drinking Water Infrastructure: A Literature Review and Summary Journal Article

This article summarizes the current state of knowledge on the persistence of biological agents on drinking water infrastructure along with information on decontamination should persistence occur. Decontamination options for drinking water infrastructure have been explored for some biological agents, but data gaps remain. Data on bacterial spore persistence on common water infrastructure materials such as iron and cement-mortar lined iron shows that spores can be persistent for weeks after initial contamination. Decontamination data shows that common disinfectants such as free chlorine have limited effectiveness. Decontamination results with germinant and alternate disinfectants such as chlorine dioxide are more promising. Persistence and decontamination data was collected on vegetative bacteria, such as coliforms, Legionella and Salmonella. Vegetative bacteria are less persistent than spores and more susceptible to disinfection, but the surfaces and water quality conditions in many studies were only marginally related to drinking water systems. However, results of real-world case studies on accidental contamination of water systems with E. coli and Salmonella contamination show that flushing and chlorination can help return a water system to service. Some viral persistence data was found, but decontamination data was lacking. Future research suggestions focus on expanding the available biological persistence data to other common infrastructure materials. Further exploration of non-traditional drinking water disinfectants is recommended for future studies.

Decontamination of Radiological Agents from Drinking Water Infrastructure: A Literature Review and SummaryJournal Article

This article summarizes the current state of knowledge on the persistence of radiological agents on drinking water infrastructure along with information on decontamination should persistence occur. Decontamination options for drinking water infrastructure have been explored for some important radiological agents (cesium, strontium and cobalt), but important data gaps remain. Although some targeted experiments have been published on cesium, strontium and cobalt persistence on drinking water infrastructure, most of the data comes from nuclear clean-up sites. Furthermore, the studies focused on drinking water systems use non-radioactive surrogates. Non-radioactive cobalt was shown to be persistent on iron due to oxidation with free chlorine in drinking water and precipitation on the iron surface. Decontamination with acidification was an effective removal method. Strontium persistence on iron was transient in tap water, but adherence to cement-mortar has been demonstrated and should be further explored. Cesium persistence on iron water infrastructure was observed when flow was stagnant, but not with water flow present. Future research suggestions focus on expanding the available cesium, strontium and cobalt persistence data to other common infrastructure materials, specifically cement-mortar. Further exploration chelating agents and low pH treatment is recommended for future decontamination studies.

DHS Reminds All to Secure IT Products and Processes

Information technology exists in almost all of the products that we use. IT products help us run our homes, businesses, and cities. An entire industry has been developed to help secure these products, to include anti-virus software and malware detectors, security services firms, and offices dedicated to protecting information technology.

As software becomes more complex, discovering vulnerabilities also becomes more difficult.  For example, the recent Heartbleed vulnerability existed within popular encryption software for two years before it was detected.

Not every household or company is able to employ cyber professionals to make sure that their IT products are secure. Therefore, this National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we are looking at the importance of securely developing IT products. This involves building in security features, such as encryption, anti-virus, and other controls, into products before they ever reach the consumer. Building in seamless cybersecurity features within products helps us all stay cyber safe. Secure development of IT products can help decrease the zero day vulnerabilities that can be exploited by cyber criminals.

Government and industry must work together in this endeavor, setting and maintaining high cybersecurity standards across all critical infrastructure industries. In this spirit, DHS developed the Software Assurance Program, which seeks to reduce software vulnerabilities, minimize exploitation, and address ways to improve the routine development and deployment of trustworthy software products. Through public private partnership, the Software Assurance Program is designed to spearhead the development of practical guidance and tools and to promote research and development investment in cyber security.

Regardless of how secure our IT products are, individuals have a personal responsibility toward cybersecurity. For instance, when purchasing software or hardware, consumers should:

  • Install and maintain vendor-distributed patches or updates
  • Ensure they are using the latest operating systems on their computers and mobile devices
  • Be aware of vulnerabilities that may

To learn more about software and applications, visit the US-CERT tips and advice page at www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/.

Secure IT products also do not excuse people from practicing unsafe online behavior. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) encourages everyone to stop and think about the choices they make when online, and to connect with care and caution. For general online safety tips and resources, visit the “Stop.Think.Connect.” Campaign resource guide at www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect.

EPA and ASDWA Host COOP Webinar for Labs

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 on September 18. 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.

A COOP Template Fillable Form will be available shortly, but in the meantime, 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.

The recorded webinar can be viewed on ASDWA’s website.  Just click this link www.asdwa.org/security and scroll to the first item in the Important Documents section.

If you have any questions about the webinar, COOP plans for labs, or the soon to be released Template, please email WLA@epa.gov

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.