EPA Hosting Resilience Mitigation Financing Webinar

With the increasing incidence and magnitude of natural disasters, especially hurricanes, droughts, and floods, utilities and communities are struggling to prepare for, respond to, and mitigate various impacts and damage. The costs associated with these disaster events are rising.  Register today and join us for a Resilience Mitigation Financing for Water & Wastewater Utilities webinar.

DATE:              December 7, 2016

TIME:               1:00-2:30PM (eastern)

REGISTER:      Click HERE

EPA’s Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center and EPA’s Water Security Division have partnered with states and utilities in designing this webinar to focus on tools and financing resources that are available to conduct resilience planning and to mitigate impacts before a disaster strikes. Utilities will share stories about investing in resilient infrastructure.

EPA’s Regional Water Teams

Did you know that EPA has a dedicated “Water Team” for each Region to provide support to states and utilities in times of emergency?

Regional Water Teams (RWTs) consist of trained EPA Regional staff from the drinking water, wastewater, and emergency response programs. RWT members have a background and specialized training in relevant EPA roles and authorities, drinking water and wastewater systems, the Incident Command System (ICS)/National Incident Management System (NIMS), and field health and safety considerations.  RWTs can serve as a liaison with the state primacy agency and Federal Agencies such as FEMA; assist with sampling and analyses; and conduct needs assessments among a wide array of support tasks.

The list below identifies the Water Team Lead for each of EPA’s 10 Regions (use the arrow keys at the bottom to scroll over to email addresses).

Water Team Leads

Region      Name      Phone      e-mail
1 Jane Downing 617-918-1571 downing.jane@epa.gov
2 Arlene Anderson 212-637-3879 anderson.arlene@epa.gov
3 Patti-Kay Wisniewski 215-814-5668 wisniewski.patti-kay@epa.gov
4 David Apanian 404-562-9477 apanian.david@epa.gov
5 Alicia Brown 312-886-4443 brown.alicia@epa.gov
6 Mark McCasland 214-665-8088 mccasland.mark@epa.gov
7 Ken Deason 913-551-7585 deason.ken@epa.gov
8 Michael Copeland 303-312-6010 copeland.michael@epa.gov
9 Bruce Macler 415 972-3569 macler.bruce@epa.gov
10 Johnny Clark 206-553-6904 clark.johnny@epa.gov

 

Week 4 – National Critical Infrastructure Security & Resilience Month

The theme for the final week of this month-long initiative is TAKE ACTION.  Take action today to help prepare utilities for emergencies.

Drinking water and wastewater utilities can take steps to adapt to the increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather events.  One helpful approach is use of the Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT).  It is a climate risk assessment and planning application for water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities.  Use CREAT to understand the impacts of climate change, assess adaptation options, and conduct cost-benefit analyses of risk reduction strategies.

Use this link https://www.epa.gov/crwu/build-climate-resilience-your-utility to access CREAT and begin to strengthen your understanding today!  Also, don’t forget to share the 1-minute public service announcement – Be aware, Be prepared, Protect Critical Water Infrastructure –video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWGKHRxzonI.

For more preparedness tools and resources, please go to epa.gov/waterresilience

 

National Critical Infrastructure Security & Resilience Month

The third week in this November celebration is dedicated to being prepared.  Build relationships with your critical customers, emergency response partners, and other key stakeholders.  Get connected and engage your community before an emergency or disaster happens.

EPA’s Community-Based Water Resiliency Tool can help you organize your approach.  This umbrella tool contains information to help you plan for a water service outage.  It contains strategies to host community-wide meetings or workshops; help you to assess your current level of preparedness; and identify available water resilience resources.   Click this link for more information https://www.epa.gov/communitywaterresilience/community-based-water-resiliency-tool

A critical factor in any successful preparedness plan is to communicate frequently and effectively with your customers.  The EPA Water Utility Public Awareness Kit contains lots of useful materials – sample mail inserts, Public Service Announcements, brochures, and videos – that all can be used to convey to value of water and wastewater services in your community.  To access the public awareness kit, just go to:  https://www.epa.gov/communitywaterresilience/water-utility-public-awareness-kit

The Internet of Things – Wait…What?

Editor’s Note:  Many of you may already be quite conversant with the “Internet of Things” but I had to go looking.  Why?  Because, as a technologically advanced protocol for connectedness, it can be very useful.  However, it also has the potential to affect water system operations in a not so useful manner.  By the way, the Internet of Things is often referred to as IoT.

The following are excerpts from an article written by Jacob Morgan for Forbes Magazine in 2014.

“The “Internet of things” (IoT) is becoming an increasingly growing topic of conversation both in the workplace and outside of it. It’s a concept that not only has the potential to impact how we live but also how we work. But what exactly is the “Internet of things” and what impact is it going to have on you, if any?

Simply put, this is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from cellphones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of.  This also applies to components of machines, for example a jet engine of an airplane or the drill of an oil rig.  The analyst firm Gartner says that by 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected devices…The IoT is a giant network of connected “things” (which also includes people).  The relationship will be between people-people, people-things, and things-things.

How Does This Impact You?

The new rule for the future is going to be, “Anything that can be connected, will be connected.” But why on earth would you want so many connected devices talking to each other? There are many examples for what this might look like or what the potential value might be…What if your alarm clock wakes up you at 6 a.m. and then notifies your coffee maker to start brewing coffee for you? What if your office equipment knew when it was running low on supplies and automatically re-ordered more?  What if the wearable device you used in the workplace could tell you when and where you were most active and productive and shared that information with other devices that you used while working?  On a broader scale, the IoT can be applied to things like transportation networks: “smart cities” which can help us reduce waste and improve efficiency for things such as energy use; helping us understand and improve how we work and live.

Security is a big issue that is oftentimes brought up. With billions of devices being connected together, what can people do to make sure that their information stays secure? Will someone be able to hack into your toaster and thereby get access to your entire network? The IoT also opens up companies all over the world to more security threats. Then we have the issue of privacy and data sharing. This is a hot-button topic even today, so one can only imagine how the conversation and concerns will escalate when we are talking about many billions of devices being connected. Another issue that many companies specifically are going to be faced with is around the massive amounts of data that all of these devices are going to produce. Companies need to figure out a way to store, track, analyze and make sense of the vast amounts of data that will be generated.

So What Now?

Conversations about the IoT are (and have been for several years) taking place all over the world as we seek to understand how this will impact our lives. We are also trying to understand what the many opportunities and challenges are going to be as more and more devices start to join the IoT. For now the best thing that we can do is educate ourselves about what the IoT is and the potential impacts that can be seen on how we work and live.”

Now that you have a better understanding of IoT, here’s some more helpful information from DHS…

While the IoT can provide efficiency, convenience, and interactivity features that are attractive, the IoT can also be vulnerable to manipulation by malicious actors, as observed in recent distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. US-CERT recommends reviewing the Strategic Principles for Securing the Internet of Things to learn more.

 

Financing Recovery and Mitigation – A Free Webinar Series

EPA is hosting two new webinars that showcase available funding for both disaster recovery efforts and resilience mitigation projects.

Disaster Recovery Financing

DATE:              November 22

TIME:               1:00-2:30PM (eastern)

REGISTER:      https://www.eventbrite.com/e/disaster-recovery-financing-tickets-28791523221

This event describes how states and communities use SRF, FEMA, and other financing approaches to recover from a disaster. Utility and state speakers will share tips and examples.

Resilience Mitigation Financing

DATE:              December 7

TIME:               1:00-2:30PM (eastern)

REGISTER:      https://www.eventbrite.com/e/resilience-mitigation-financing-tickets-28791849196

This event focuses on tools and financing resources to conduct resilience planning and to mitigate impacts before a disaster strikes. Utilities will share stories about investing in resilient infrastructure.

 

NATIONAL CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE SECURITY & RESILIENCE MONTH – WEEK 2

The theme for the second week of National Critical Infrastructure Security & Resilience Month is GET READY!

States are encouraged to work with their utilities to be better prepared for natural and man-made disasters by conducting an emergency response exercise.  Check out the two options below!

OPTION 1:

Plan your next exercise using the Tabletop Exercise Tool for Water Systems (TTX Tool).  The TTX Tool contains 15 scenarios that help you address all-hazards in preparing for emergencies.  Customize the situation manual, discussion questions, and PowerPoint presentations to meet your needs.

The Tabletop Exercise Tool is here https://www.epa.gov/waterresiliencetraining/develop-and-conduct-water-resilience-tabletop-exercise-water-utilities.

OPTION 2

Distribute the EPA Water Infrastructure Video to your utilities and encourage them to share this 1-minute video with their customers, colleagues, and partners.  EPA developed this public service announcement to raise awareness and appreciation of critical water and wastewater infrastructure.

Click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWGKHRxzonI to view the video.

 

November is National Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month

Our colleagues at EPA’s Water Security Division invite states and water utilities to take special efforts during National Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month to be better prepared for emergencies.  Each week during November, EPA will share information about a different area of focus for enhanced security and resilience.

This week’s focus is Risk Assessment.  A vital step on the path to resilience is identifying a utility’s vulnerabilities.  Water and wastewater utilities can identify risks using the Vulnerability Self-Assessment Tool (VSAT).  VSAT can help utilities identify the highest risks to mission-critical operations and find cost-effective risk reduction strategies.  This link https://www.epa.gov/waterriskassessment/conduct-drinking-water-or-wastewater-utility-risk-assessment will take you to a downloadable version of VSAT.

More information about water security and resilience  is available at https://www.epa.gov/waterresilience/celebrate-national-critical-infrastructure-security-and-resilience-month.  Next week’s focus area will be “Get Ready – Conduct an emergency response exercise.”  Subsequent focus areas will look at community resiliency and risk reduction strategies.

 

 

TEEX Offers Cyber Courses

Our colleagues at TEEX, the Engineering Extension Service at Texas A&M University, have posted their latest schedule for upcoming cyber security courses.  Click on the course name for more information.

Date Location
Promoting Community Cybersecurity
AWR-135
February 16, 2017 Albuquerque, New Mexico
Essentials of Community Cybersecurity
AWR-136
November 8, 2016 Sanford, Florida
November 8, 2016 Westminster, California
December 6, 2016 Los Angeles, California
February 15, 2017 Albuquerque, New Mexico
April 11, 2017 Nashville, Tennessee
June 6, 2017 Egg Harbor, NJ
Community Preparedness for Cyber Incidents
MGT 384
November 8-9, 2016 Sanford, Florida
November 8-9, 2016 Westminster, California
December 6-7, 2016 Los Angeles, California
April 11-12, 2017 Nashville, Tennessee
June 6-7, 2017 Egg Harbor, New Jersey
Community Cybersecurity Exercise Planning
MGT 385
December 08-09 2016 Los Angeles, CA
December 13-14, 2016 Dallas, TX
December 8-9, 2016 Salem, Oregon
February, 21-22, 2017 Nashville, Tennessee

 

 

 

Financing Recovery and Mitigation Webinars

As part of an ongoing webinar series, our colleagues at EPA are hosting two webinars that explore resource options that can be used for recovery, mitigation, and resilience financing.

Disaster Recovery Financing

 DATE:              November 22

TIME:               1:00-2:30PM (eastern)

REGISTER:      https://www.eventbrite.com/e/disaster-recovery-financing-tickets-28791523221

This webinar will share information on how states and communities use SRFs, FEMA grants, and other financing opportunities to recover from a disaster.

Resilience Mitigation Financing

DATE:              December 7

TIME:               1:00-2:30PM (eastern)

REGISTER:      https://www.eventbrite.com/e/resilience-mitigation-financing-tickets-28791849196

This event will offer insights about financing resources that can be used for resilience planning and hazard mitigation projects.

Please click https://www.epa.gov/waterfinancecenter/financing-disaster-recovery-and-resilience-mitigation-water-and-wastewater for more details about each of these events.