WHEAT Update

Last year EPA and its partners finalized the Water Health and Economic Analysis Tool (WHEAT) software for drinking water utilities, which is available free of charge on EPA’s website at   http://yosemite.epa.gov/ow/SReg.nsf/description/WHEAT.

 WHEAT is a generalized (threat neutral) consequence analysis tool that can assist in quantifying human health and economic consequences for a variety of threat scenarios that pose a significant risk to the water sector. EPA designed WHEAT to be used by utility owners and operators to supplement their expert opinion in risk assessment methods by providing more detailed consequence analysis.

 Currently, WHEAT allows for the analysis of two types of scenarios for drinking water systems: 1) a hazardous gas release; and 2) the loss of operating assets. WHEAT helps utilities to better understand and quantify the public health and economic consequences of potential incidents.

EPA piloted the WHEAT drinking water module in Richmond, Virginia in November 2011, to improve WHEAT’s existing framework.  Over the past year, they also have been piloting a WHEAT wastewater module. The feedback and comments received during all pilots identified useful analytical and user interface updates needed improve on WHEAT’s existing structure; so, a comprehensive WHEAT update has been underway based on pilot feedback.

In early March, EPA hopes to demonstrate the beta version of the WHEAT software and ask for input from the water community. Also, while only in the initial phases of development, EPA is aggressively moving forward on developing a drinking water contamination module framework for WHEAT and will be seeking input on the framework and eventually on the beta version of the contamination module software.

Lastly, EPA has been speaking with DHS on a project they are developing through the National Institute for Hometown Security at Western Kentucky University.  The University is developing their water sector Economic Consequence Assessment Tool (ECAT) (http://www.thenihs.org/node/314).  EPA is working with DHS and the University to better understand how WHEAT and ECAT can complement each other to eliminate any possibility of duplicative efforts.

Please contact John DeGour of EPA’s Water Security Division at DeGour.John@epa.gov if you have any questions.

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