Two New Incident Action Checklists for the Water Sector

The EPA Water Security Division (WSD) published ten “rip & run” style checklists in January 2015 to facilitate water sector response immediately before, during and after an emergency. These concise Incident Action Checklists outline critical measures that drinking water and wastewater utilities can take to protect their system against various natural hazards.

WSD is excited to announce the publication of two new Incident Action Checklists:  Cybersecurity and Harmful Algal Blooms.  As with the 2015 versions, these new checklists include potential impacts to the water sector; actions to prepare for, respond to and recover from the specific incident; a contacts section that utilities can fill out with their own local information; and a resource section. With a concise structure and targeted focus, the Checklists offer utilities a unique resource focusing on response actions that should greatly increase the water sector’s resilience to cybersecurity and harmful algal bloom incidents.  Download the Checklists today at: https://www.epa.gov/waterutilityresponse/incident-action-checklists-water-utilities.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Dawn Ison at ison.dawn@epa.gov or by phone at 513-569-7686.

 

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November is Critical Infrastructure Security & Resilience Month

As we continue to strive to ensure that water systems are strengthened against manmade threats and natural disasters, our colleagues at EPA’s Water Security Division are showcasing three tools that every water system should be familiar with…and be using to full advantage!

  1. Public Health Surveillance Guidance:  https://www.epa.gov/waterqualitysurveillance/water-quality-surveillance-and-response-system-public-health-surveillance
  2. The Water Contaminant Information Tool (WCIT):  https://www.epa.gov/waterlabnetwork/access-water-contaminant-information-tool
  3. the Water Lab Alliance Toolkit:  https://www.epa.gov/waterlabnetwork/water-laboratory-alliance-tool-kit

 

 

EPA WSD Offers Several Trainings & Webinars

Our colleagues in EPA’s Water Security Division want to make sure that you know about upcoming training and webinar opportunities.  Please read below for a variety of offerings:

WLA Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) Template Training – October 24, 2017 at 11:00 AM ET

It is imperative that laboratories be able to continue their essential functions when incidents occur that disrupt normal operations. This webinar is designed as an introduction to the Water Laboratory Alliance COOP template, providing a basic overview of the COOP template contents and a demonstration on how to use the template’s fillable form. Register for the training at https://us-epa-wla-coop.eventbrite.com

SRS Capabilities Assessment Tool Webinar – October 26, 2017 at 2:00 PM ET

This webinar will provide a first look at a test version of the Water Quality Surveillance and Response System (SRS) Capabilities Assessment Tool. This tool presents drinking water utilities with questions to assess their current surveillance and response capabilities, provides recommendations for how they can improve those capabilities, and identifies resources they can use to implement each recommendation. In addition to demonstrating how the tool functions, EPA will be soliciting stakeholder input and inviting stakeholders to participate in a round of testing.  Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/demo-of-srs-capabilities-assessment-tool-tickets-38556887689?ref=enivtefor001&utm_source=eb_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=inviteformalv2&ref=enivtefor001&utm_term=attend

WCIT Training – October 26, 2017 at 1:00 PM ET

This training is designed to introduce and refresh users on the Water Contaminant Information Tool (WCIT), 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. Register for the training at https://usepa-wcit-training.eventbrite.com

Responding to a Water Contamination Event Webinars November 2, 8, and 15, 2017 @1:00 PM ET

The Water Security Division will conduct a series of one-hour webinars entitled “Responding to a Water Contamination Event.” The webinar series will inform drinking water and wastewater utilities of free tools and resources that can help prepare for, respond to, and recover from water contamination. Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/responding-to-a-water-contamination-event-webinar-series-tickets-38156431915

 DPAS Webinar – November 9, 2017 at 1:00 PM ET

The Water Security Division is developing the Decontamination Preparedness and Assessment Strategy (DPAS) to assist water utilities in preparation for contamination incidents. This webinar will provide an overview of DPAS, which is an interactive PDF walking the user through the complexities of the three phases of remediation: characterization, decontamination, and clearance. Register at https://us-epa-dpas.eventbrite.com

 

EPA’s Homeland Security Research Program Update

Our colleagues at EPA’s Homeland Security Research Program have shared information on new and updated products and projects of interest to drinking water programs.  The focus is principally on treatment and distribution system protection and modeling as well as decontamination projects.

For example, the Updates contains articles and reports on the following:

  • A Software Framework for Assessing the Resilience of Drinking Water Systems to Disasters with an Example Earthquake Case Study
  • Water Security Toolkit User Manual: Version 1.3
  • Treatment of Perfluorinated Alkyl Substances in Wash Water Using Granular Activated Carbon and Mixed-Media

The full update is available at this link Product+Newsletter+Oct+2017.pdf

Responding to a Water Contamination Event – Webinar Series

Please join EPA’s Water Security Division in recognizing the importance of drinking water and wastewater infrastructure during Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month for a webinar series on free tools you can use to respond to a water contamination emergency at your utility.

 

The webinar series will focus on the following topics:

Preparing Your Water Utility for an Emergency

DATE:              November 2, 2017

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

 

Responding to a Contamination Incident

DATE:              November 8, 2017

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

 

Recovering from a Contamination Incident

 DATE:              November 15, 2017

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

 

TO REGISTER FOR ONE OR MORE EVENTS:  Click this link and select the dates to register for the appropriate event.

EPA Water Security Division – Two New Products

Designing Customer Complaint Surveillance for Water Quality Surveillance and Response Systems

This document provides guidance for using customer calls and existing utility complaint management systems for detecting possible drinking water contamination incidents. Customers throughout a utility’s distribution system can provide near real-time input regarding changes in the taste, odor, or appearance of drinking water. The document provides guidance on using customer feedback to monitor for changes in water quality. Specific guidance is provided for complaint collection, information management, alert investigation procedures, and communicating with customers. This document is expected to be published in early October and posted to: https://www.epa.gov/waterqualitysurveillance/customer-complaint-surveillance-resources

Designing Enhanced Security Monitoring for Water Quality Surveillance and Response Systems

This document provides guidance for enhancing security monitoring at distribution system facilities that are determined to be at risk of intentional contamination. The document covers equipment to delay and detect unauthorized entries using hardening and intrusion detection. It also provides guidance on site selection, physical security equipment, communications, information management, alert investigation procedures, and partnerships with law enforcement to respond to unauthorized intrusions. This document is expected to be published in late September and posted to: https://www.epa.gov/waterqualitysurveillance/enhanced-security-monitoring-resources

National Preparedness Month – Week 3

 

This week focuses on risk assessment.  Conduct a risk assessment to find out your vulnerabilities…Vulnerability Self-Assessment Tool

Drinking water and wastewater utilities of all sizes can use VSAT to enhance their security and resiliency. Utilities can:

  • Identify the highest risks to mission-critical operations
  • Find the most cost-effective measures to reduce those risks

VSAT Version 6.0 complies with the water sector risk assessment standard and can offer liability protection under the Department of Homeland Security’s Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies (SAFETY) Act program. EPA strongly encourages drinking water and wastewater utility owners and operators to use VSAT 6.0 to conduct or update an all-hazards risk assessment.

For more information on water resilience, visit www.epa/gov/waterresilience

EPA WSD Webinar Opportunities

Our colleagues at the EPA Water Security Division (WSD) are offering to webinar opportunities.

I.  Analytical Preparedness – Full Scale Exercise Toolkit

 DATE:              Thursday, August 24

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

REGISTER:      https://us-epa-ap-fse.eventbrite.com

The Analytical Preparedness Full-Scale Exercise (AP-FSE) toolkit is an interactive resource that can help users to plan and conduct exercises that involve the coordination of analytical support. Water utilities, laboratories and other response partners can use the AP-FSE Toolkit to design exercise that meet their objectives. The toolkit includes scenarios and document templates that can be used as is, or tailored to meet their needs. This training will cover:

  • How participating in an AP-FSE can increase preparedness
  • How the toolkit and its resources can be leveraged to plan and conduct an exercise
  • How to coordinate analytical support and further develop relationships with response partners

 

II.  Decontaminating a Utility After a Contamination Event

DATE:              Wednesday, September 20

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

REGISTER:      https://us-epa-decontamination-strategies.eventbrite.com

Water utilities can face major challenges when responding to all-hazards contamination incidents. These challenges can include isolations, treating contaminated water, and decontaminating water utilities as well as the infrastructure needed to enable recovery and return to service. This webinar will provide a detailed overview of an upcoming decontamination tool that will help utilities be prepared prior to an incident. The tool will cover the three phases of remediation: characterization, decontamination and clearance. In addition, the webinar will address how utilities can contain and dispose of large amounts of contaminated water.

 

EPA WSD Hosts Two Late July Training Opportunities

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

July 25, 2017 at 1:00 PM ET

The Analytical Preparedness Full-Scale Exercise (AP-FSE) Toolkit is an interactive resource that can help users to plan and conduct exercises that involve the coordination of analytical support. This training will cover: how participating in an AP-FSE 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.

Register:  https://us-epa-ap-fse.eventbrite.com

 

Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) Template Training

July 27, 2017 at 1:00 PM ET

It is imperative that laboratories be able to continue their essential functions when incidents occur that disrupt normal operations. This webinar is designed as an introduction to the WLA COOP template, providing a basic overview of the COOP template contents and a demonstration on how to use the template’s fillable form.

Register:  https://us-epa-wla-coop.eventbrite.com

INVITATION TO PARTICIPATE IN EARTH EX CROSS-SECTOR POWER OUTAGE EXERCISE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Critical infrastructure owners/operators and government agencies have an opportunity to participate in a new exercise designed to let participants evaluate and improve restoration support, preparedness, response and recovery plans for severe hazards, using a long-term, widespread power outage as a test case.  A webinar about the exercise is planned for July 19 and you may register here.

Hosted by the Electric Infrastructure Reliability Council, which recently published a handbook on water sector resilience to long-term power outages, EARTH EX 2017 is a four-hour decentralized, international, multi-sector, self-assessed exercise that will consider the impact of a long-duration power outage on critical infrastructure.  The no cost exercise will take place on Wednesday, August 23.  Private sector and government organizations in the U.S. and around the world interested in participating in EARTH EX 2017 are invited to register online.

In recent years concerns have grown over the potential for severe malicious or natural “Black Sky” hazards that include long duration power outages and which could lead to cascading failures of water supply systems and other interdependent infrastructure.  To prepare for these risks, careful sector-by-sector resilience planning is crucial. Cross-sector exercises are an important component to understanding interdependencies and shared vulnerabilities.  As a “come as you are” exercise, EARTH EX will offer executive and senior level operational decision makers a unique opportunity to examine preparedness, response and restoration postures for severe hazard scenarios – all without extensive pre-exercise preparation.