Tell Your Story at AWRA

AWRA

The American Water Resources Association is calling for poster and oral presentation abstracts, workshops, and topical sessions related to improving water infrastructure and resiliency for their AWRA 2019 Summer Specialty Conference.  Abstracts will be categorized under the following themes with multiple subtopics:

 

  • Water Infrastructure and Resilience
  • Natural Hazards, Climate Risks and Adaptation
  • Food-Energy-Water Nexus
  • Water and Society
  • Regional Themes

Abstract Deadline:    February 25, 2019

For more information on this opportunity click here.

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New WARN Video Helps Debunk Myths

Taking a lighthearted approach, EPA has developed a video that takes a look at some of the myths that surround the WARN program (Water and Wastewater Agency Response Network).  State security coordinators should take a look and then share the video with their water systems and assistance providers who may work with folks who still are unsure about the value of WARN.

To view the video, click here.  Click this link for more information about mutual aid and assistance through WARN programs.

Laboratory and Field Response

LabNext week EPA is hosting a webinar entitled Preparing for Sampling and Analysis in Response to Distribution System Contamination Incidents. This webinar will focus on laboratory and field response capabilities to  contamination incidents and will cover the following:

  • Analytical Methods
  • Priority Contaminants
  • Emergency Response Sampling kits
  • Field Testing Equipment

More detailed information on this webinar can be found here.

Preparing for Sampling and Analysis in Response to Distribution System Contamination Incidents

DATE:                       December 11, 2018           

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

REGISTER:              Click here

Tabletop Exercise Tool for Drinking Water and Wastewater Utilities

EPA’s Water Security Division has just updated the Tabletop Exercise (TTX) Tool for drinking water and wastewater utilities.  The TTX tool provides users with the resources to plan, conduct and evaluate tabletop exercises. The 2018 version of the TTX tool contains 12 customizable all-hazards scenarios (e.g., natural disasters, man-made incidents) that will assist utilities to practice, test and help improve emergency response plans and procedures.

To download the TTX tool (zip file) and view the different scenarios, click here.

Emergency Fuel Preparedness

WaterISACWaterISAC and the National Association of Water Companies are hosting an upcoming webinar, Emergency Fuel – Planning for Preparedness. This webinar will focus on strategies utilities can use to maintain fuel supplies after a disaster. Topics covered in this webinar will include utility emergency fuel supply plans, the role of emergency management agencies in the preparation and response for emergency fuel, and fuel delivery during an emergency. Additional details on this webinar can be found here.

DATE:                        November, 14 2018

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

REGISTER:              Click here

Partnerships for Better Preparedness

download

EPA’s Water Security Division, in collaboration with the DHS National Information Sharing Consortium, are hosting a webinar next week on Connecting Emergency Management Agencies and Water Utilities.

This webinar is designed to help both water utilities and emergency management agencies improve preparedness and better safeguard drinking water quality during emergencies. It will review opportunities for water utilities and emergency management agencies to coordinate on developing  clear unified messages and cover how they can share their emergency capabilities and issue access cards.

The webinar also will feature case studies to demonstrate the effectiveness of synchronization between water utilities and emergency management agencies and highlight how this partnership improved preparedness.

Connecting Emergency Management Agencies and Water Utilities

DATE:              October 18, 2018

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

REGISTER:      Click here

Improving Resiliency

Drinking Water Utility

 

EPA’s Water Security Division is hosting a series of webinars this November that focus on exploring funding and technological opportunities for water infrastructure development to improve drinking water resilience. Register for any of the following webinars here.

 

 

Increasing Support for Water Resilience

DATE:          November 1, 2018

TIME:           1:00-2:00PM (Eastern)

This webinar will use successful utility case studies to validate activities that aim to increase support from the public and decision makers on infrastructure investments.

Incorporating Resilience Technologies

DATE:              November 8, 2018

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

This webinar will focus on the available resilience technologies that can be applied to every utility size. Case studies will show participants how to better plan emergency response and recovery.

Leveraging Funding Resources to Build Resilience

DATE:              November 15, 2018

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

This webinar will cover sources of funding for drinking water utilities to invest in resilience projects, and this will also be demonstrated through case studies.

EPA WSD Shares Earthquake Response Tools

Today, EPA has released three tools that drinking water and wastewater utilities can use to prepare for and respond to the impacts of earthquakes. These products include:

 

  • Earthquake Resilience Video
  • Earthquake Resilience Guide, and
  • Earthquake Interactive Maps.

The video, guide and maps were developed to help utilities identify if they are located in earthquake hazard areas, encourages them to take steps to understand the potential earthquake impacts, and provides actions on how to address potential risks.

Downloads of the three new tools and more information on earthquake resilience is available at: https://www.epa.gov/waterutilityresponse/earthquake-resilience-water-and-wastewater-utilities

 

Enhancing Cyber Hygiene

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) hosted a webinar to share cyber threat and resilience information.  Several of the cyber hygiene recommendations offered during the web event may be helpful as you work with water systems to enhance their ability to provide safe drinking water.

One particular aspect of the webinar focused on trends that NCCIC analysts are seeing in the field related to cyber hygiene.  Practical corrective actions and recommended next steps were also discussed.  The trends fall into five major areas:

  • Continued use of End of Life (EOL) network devices – those that are no longer supported by vendor patches and devices that are not being replaced during update/tech refresh cycles.
  • Default/weak security configurations – use of default or weak credentials, devices put onto networks with “out of the box” configurations, or no implementation of vendor/government device hardened guidance
  • Use of unsecure/unencrypted remote access protocols – administrator access directly over the internet or external use of FTP/TFTP.
  • Poor security monitoring – lack of visibility for administrator access, device logging not implemented, or lack of visibility of configuration changes to network devices.
  • Continued reliance on the old “network operations” mentality – network device security monitoring is secondary to the operations tasks.

The discussions surrounding the above categories were not directed specifically toward water utilities; however, most would easily apply to any utility with a SCADA system.  The presentations also included information about the NCCIC and its role within DHS, broad discussions of cyber threats and exposures, and a separate section on the Federal response.  The complete powerpoint presentation is available at this link.  You are encouraged to share these materials with your colleagues in the water community.

Upcoming Water Security Webinars

EPA’s Water Security Division is hosting a series of webinars that offer great opportunities for states and drinking water utilities. The events focus on three different aspects of resilience – surveillance and response, laboratories, and available tools to help participants.

Water Quality Surveillance and Response Systems

Public Health Surveillance for Detecting Drinking Water Contamination

DATE:              October 9, 2018

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

REGISTER:      Click here

This webinar will discuss the role that public health partners can play in detecting and responding to drinking water contamination incidents. Information on different types of public health partners, the types of surveillance they perform, and examples that demonstrate how surveillance monitoring can be used for public health will be discussed. There will also be a discussion of roles and responsibilities during a joint water utility / public health agency investigation of possible water contamination. Please share this opportunity with your systems.

Response Planning for Distribution System Contamination Incidents

DATE:              November 6, 2018

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

REGISTER:      Click here

This webinar will provide an overview of the response to a distribution system contamination incident and the steps utilities can take to prepare their own response procedure. It will cover roles and responsibilities when working with response partners. The webinar will also discuss possible response actions that can be implemented to minimize consequences, such as operational changes to reduce the spread of contaminated water and public notification to minimize customers’ exposure to contaminated water. Please share this opportunity with your systems.

Labs

Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) Template Webinar

DATE:              October 4, 2018

TIME:               11:00AM-12:00PM (Eastern)

REGISTER:      Click here

The webinar will discuss how laboratories maintain mission-critical functions when disaster strikes. EPA’s Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) Template enables laboratories to think through and develop a comprehensive, customized COOP.

Water Laboratory Alliance Response Plan Tabletop Exercise Webinar

DATE:              October 9, 2018

TIME:               1:00-3:00PM (Eastern)

REGISTER:      Click here

This webinar will bring together participants from utilities and laboratories to work through a water contamination scenario. It will also focus on describing the key elements of the Water Laboratory Response Plan (WLA-RP), including water sector best practices for emergency response. The webinar will discuss the roles of laboratories and others in a response to a water contamination incident, as well as how to build relationships between water utilities, laboratories and other stakeholders. Participants will become familiar with EPA preparedness tools and resources.

Tools

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

DATE:              October 16, 2018

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

REGISTER:      Click here

EPA’s newly released Analytical Preparedness Full-Scale Exercise (AP-FSE) Toolkit is a comprehensive guide to planning and executing a multi-organization exercise to simulate a water emergency, with a focus on tools and best practices for laboratory analytical support. This webinar covers how an AP-FSE can increase preparedness and gives an overview of the contents and functionality of the Toolkit. Participants will also learn how you can get started planning an exercise of your own and access EPA support.

Water Contaminant Information Tool (WCIT) Webinar

DATE:              October 18, 2018

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

REGISTER:      Click here

The Water Contaminant Information Tool (WCIT) is a secure online database with comprehensive information about chemical, biological and radiochemical contaminants of concern for the Water Sector. This training, intended for members of the water utility, laboratory and emergency response communities, and gives an overview of WCIT.

Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month Webinar Series

This series of events offers information on: activities, technology, and funding opportunities that will help the water community increase investment in building resilience. All of these share the same registration link. Click here

  • Increasing Support for Water Resilience (November 1, 2018 1:00-2:00PM Eastern)
  • Incorporating Resilience Technologies (November 8, 2018 1:00-2:00PM Eastern)
  • Leveraging Funding Resources to Build Resilience (November 15, 2018 1:00-2:00PM      Eastern)