Are You Cyber Aware?

EPA’s Water Security Division is hosting a webinar titled Are You Cyber Aware? to help utilities consider useful next steps in cyber awareness and preparedness.  The hour long event will also showcase best practices and case studies on cyber preparedness.  You are invited to attend and learn about top tips and resources to prepare to respond to a cyber attack.  

DATE:              May 17, 2018

TIME:               1:00-2:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:      Click here

Advertisements

FEMA Funds for Water

In the scramble to find out what funding is available for state drinking water programs from the FY 18 Omnibus Appropriations Act, ASDWA came across some new information about programs managed by FEMA that may have funds available for water utilities and state primacy agencies.

FEMA funding is captured in the Omnibus bill under Division F, Title IV, Protection, Preparedness, Response and Recovery.  In total, FEMA grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements are collectively funded at $3,293,932,000.  Of that amount, the following appropriations are included:

  • $507M for the State Homeland Security Grant Program to assist state, local, tribal, and territorial agencies to obtain the resources required to support implementation of the National Preparedness System (NPS) and the Goal of a secure and resilient Nation.
  • $630M for the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) Grant Program to address the unique multi-discipline planning, organization, equipment, training, and exercise needs of high-threat, high-density Urban Areas.
  • $350M for the Emergency Management Performance Grant Program for states to assist state, local, territorial, and tribal governments in preparing for all hazards, as authorized by the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act and Section 662 of the Post Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006.
  • $249M for the National Pre-Disaster Mitigation Fund to assist states, tribes, and territories to reduce overall risk to the population and structures from future hazard events, while also reducing reliance on Federal funding in future disasters. This program awards planning and project grants and provides opportunities for raising public awareness about reducing future losses before disaster strikes.
  • $275M for Current Operations to sustain training, exercises, technical assistance and other programs.

You are encouraged to collaborate with your state’s emergency management agency to determine how best to take advantage of these programs and opportunities.

 

EPA WSD Offers Three Different Decon Opportunities

For Water Utilities – May 7:

EPA’s Water Security Division will be conducting a half-day Workshop on the Decontamination Preparedness and Assessment Strategy for Water Utilities on May 7 at the at the EPA’s Research Triangle Park Campus, North Carolina. The workshop will focus on understanding the three phases of remediation (Characterization, Decontamination and Clearance) prior to a contamination event. The workshop includes interactive discussions that examine the simulated effect of a chemical release at drinking water and wastewater utilities of a fictitious community.

At the end of the workshop, participants will:

  • Understand and become familiar with the steps of the remediation process.
  • Identify utility-specific actions to be taken prior to an incident.
  • Understand and know where to locate other resources and tools that may be helpful to prepare for and respond to an incident.
  • Be aware of public health and environmental safety considerations that apply to each phase of remediation.

For States and Water Utilities – May 7:

EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) will be conducting a panel discussion after the above workshop to introduce a State/Local Engagement Plan focusing on management of emergency contamination incidents regardless of cause. ORD is seeking feedback from state and local organizations, water utilities, and authorities on how best to optimize interactions.

For both the Workshop and Panel discussion, participants must RSVP by April 20 at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2018-epa-international-decontamination-conference-water-utility-workshop-tickets-44158809187

For questions about this workshop, please contact Marissa Lynch at lynch.marissa@epa.gov. For more information about the panel discussion, please contact plotkin.viktoriya@epa.gov.

For States, Utilities and Researchers – May 8-10

EPA’s Office of Research and Development’s National Homeland Security Research Center (NHSRC) will be hosting their 10th International Conference on Decontamination Research and Development held at the EPA’s Research Triangle Park Campus, North Carolina, May 8-10. The conference is designed to facilitate presentation, discussion, and further collaboration on research and development focused on an all-hazards approach to cleaning up contaminated buildings (both interior and exterior), infrastructure, and other areas/materials. The conference continues to focus strongly on matters involving CBR threat agents, but also includes all hazard elements.

Topics for this conference include:

  • New chemical, biological, and radiological (CBR) detection and decontamination research data or field activities and large scale demonstrations related to the detection and decontamination of biological (including agricultural threat agents and biotoxins), chemical, and radiological threat agents in indoor (in facilities) or outdoor areas/materials;
  • Cross-cutting topics related to restoration, including: clean-up levels/risk assessment, exposure assessment, sampling/analysis of threat agents, fate/transport/containment, material compatibility with decontamination processes, tool and guidance development, waste management of threat agent-contaminated materials, water/wastewater decontamination, and systems approach to response and regulatory issues;
  • Regional, state, and local initiatives highlighting local priorities, challenges, and science and technology developments related to response and recovery efforts from intentional or accidental environmental incidents; and
  • Special topics: new to this year’s conference is the introduction of a special topics category. These topics will address emerging issues as identified by the conference committee. This year’s special topics are:
    • Emerging threats: work addressing emerging threats (e.g., fentanyl, drug lab cleanup, etc.);
    • Recent disaster response: examples of work supporting large-scale natural disaster response efforts;
    • Research to response: best practices for bridging the gap between R&D and field operations; and
    • All Hazards Remediation (non-CBR): remediation efforts related to a variety of disasters/incidents outside of core homeland security responsibilities

Participant attending the decontamination workshop on May 7 are welcome to attend the 2018 EPA International Decontamination Research and Development Conference. Participants can register for the conference at this link: https://www.epa.gov/homeland-security-research/2018-epa-international-decontamination-research-and-development

For questions about the conference, please contact Susan Blaine at 703-225-2471 or EPA_Decon@icf.com

The March ORD Monthly Webinar Series Features Water Security & Resiliency

DATE:              Tuesday, March 27

TIME:               2:00-3:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:      Click here

In this webinar, EPA’s Office of Research and Development is exploring two aspects of water security and resilience – improving emergency response through the Water Lab Alliance (WLA) and sampling and analysis tools for water emergencies.

The Water Lab Alliance presentation will provide an overview of WLA, highlighting several of its available tools and resources that systems – including small systems – can use to improve emergency response.

The Sampling and Analysis Tools presentation will describe sampling and analysis tools that EPA provides to water utilities for improving drinking water and wastewater system resilience to disasters and to quickly recover from chem/bio/rad agents.

Please share this invitation with your state’s water systems and those in your program with an interest in security and resilience.

Two New WSD Webinars

EPA’s Water Security Division is hosting two new webinars as part of their Water Quality Surveillance and Response Webinar Series.  See below for details.

  1. Risk of Drinking Water Contamination and Actions to Prepare

DATE:              March 20, 2018

TIME:               1:00-2:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:      Click here

This webinar focuses on:

  • The risk of drinking water contamination through case studies of real world incidents
  • How readily available data can be used to detect a wide range of water quality problems
  • How response planning can help to effectively manage a water contamination incident

  1. Online Water Quality Monitoring for Source Waters

DATE:    April 10, 2018

TIME:    1:00-2:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:  Click here

This webinar focuses on:

  • How West Virginia American Water designed an effective source water monitoring system
  • Common design considerations for implementing an online water quality monitoring system
  • How to select monitoring locations and parameters to meet utility unique monitoring goals

Different approaches to information management and data analysis

More WSD Webinars…

Water Contaminant Information Tool (WCIT) Training

DATE:              March 22, 2018 and

April 19, 2018

TIME:               1:00-2:00PM (eastern)-March

                        11:00-Noon (eastern)-April

REGISTER:      Click Here for both events

This training is designed to introduce and refresh users on WCIT (water contaminant information tool), a secure on-line database with comprehensive information about chemical, biological and radiochemical contaminants of concern. The training will include step-by-step instructions for tool functions such as contaminant search, finding and accessing field and confirmatory methods and generating public information reports.

EPA WSD Offers Training Opportunities

Water/Wastewater Boot Camp Training!

EPA just updated the Water/Wastewater All-Hazards Boot Camp computer training. The self-paced training teaches utilities to incorporate emergency management activities into their programs and build resilience to all hazards. The updated release includes the latest tools and resources from EPA and other Water Sector partners.  Click here to start the training!

 

Analytical Preparedness Full-Scale Exercise (AP-FSE) Toolkit Training

March 29, 2018 at 1:00 PM, eastern  Register Here

This training will cover how participating in a full-scale exercise can increase preparedness, how the toolkit and its resources can be leveraged to plan and conduct an exercise, and how to coordinate analytical support and further develop relationships with response partners.

 

Sampling Guidance for Unknown Contaminants

April 26, 2018 at 1:00 PM, eastern  Register Here

Participants will learn how to use WLA’s Sampling Guidance for Unknown Contaminants by examining the collection of unknown samples in response to a drinking water contamination incident. Training is intended for drinking water utilities, state and local governments, emergency responders and laboratory personnel.

 

EPA WSD Shares New Resource

Customer Complaint Surveillance (CCS) Resources:  Guidance and instructional videos for CCS are now available from EPA’s Water Security Division by clicking here.  “Designing Customer Complaint Surveillance for Water Quality Surveillance and Response Systems” provides guidance for designing a system to analyze customer complaints to detect water quality problems (e.g. taste, odor or appearance complaints).  The 48 page document contains several embedded forms, templates, and examples (to view these materials, you must first download the PDF version of document).  The “Instructional Videos on Customer Complaint Surveillance Tools” provide an overview and training on how to use two previously published tools, the Alarm Estimation Tool and the Threshold Analysis Tool.  Both are designed to help utilities analyze drinking water complaint data.  The videos range in viewing time from 5-9 minutes (total viewing time for all six videos is less than 40 min).

UNC-EFC Tackles Financial Resilience

The Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Caroline, Chapel Hill hosts a blog site that looks at water and wastewater needs, issues, concerns, and successes. One of their most recent posts looks at Local Government Financial Resilience and Preparation Before a Natural Disaster.

As the blog post notes, “…municipalities are becoming extremely vulnerable to natural disasters, making it necessary for local governments to become more resilient to catastrophes. Natural disaster resiliency often focuses on the built environment and hazard mitigation, but what about weathering the storm from a financial perspective?”  It goes on to suggest that communities should consider the following steps when evaluating the potential financial impacts of a natural disaster:  identify the probability and type of likely disasters, set a planning timeline, know about available funding sources, and set up a rainy day fund.

The blog post also contains numerous links to resources that can help a community understand and plan financially for a disaster.  One that stands out is Financial Planning for Natural Disasters: A Workbook for Local Governments and Regions.  The Workbook “…is designed to help local governments and regions understand their financial vulnerabilities to natural disasters, evaluate their financial capacity to cover the costs of those disasters, identify strategies to close the gap between financial vulnerability and capacity, and identify and address the spillover effects of neighboring local governments’ financial vulnerabilities to disasters.”

Homeland Security Research Webinar Series

Please join our colleagues from EPA’s Homeland Security Research Center as they host a webinar to discuss how Small and Large Water Systems are Piloting Real-time Data Analytics to Improve Water Quality and Preparedness.

DATE:              March 12, 2018

TIME:               2:00-3:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:      Here

EPA’s Homeland Security Research Program has developed and pilot deployed real-time analytics hardware and software (RTX:LINK and EPANET-RTX) in both large and small systems (Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, and Colorado).  The RTX:LINK and EPANET-RTX applications to the City of Flint, Michigan will help with daily operations by monitoring system-wide flows, pressures, and water age in real time.

The RTX:LINK hardware/software tool provides a simple and secure access to key water utility operational data streams, using web-based dashboards for trending and alerting. RTX:LINK helps drinking water utilities more easily access and use their water system SCADA data to provide improved water system operations and management through the power of real-time analytics.  EPANET-RTX software integrates a utility’s SCADA data with their hydraulic network model for real-time prediction of system-wide flows, pressures, and water quality. RTX:LINK has been piloted in the cities of Milford, Ohio and Flint Michigan and is in the process of being deployed at additional small and large systems across the U.S.

This webinar will describe these hardware/software tools and talk about how they are transforming the way hydraulic modeling of drinking water systems is performed and how the tools can be used to improve a water utility’s preparedness and response capabilities.