Don’t Get Left Out in the Cold

 As you know, our colleagues at EPA’s Water Security Division have put together a series of Incident Action Checklists.  Last month, we talked about two new additions for HABs and Cybersecurity.  This month, we’re taking a look back at one of the earlier published checklists.

Now that colder weather seems to have arrived across much of the country, it may be time to remind your water utilities that there’s also a checklist that deals with Extreme Cold and Winter Storms.  This checklist outlines possible winter cold impacts for a water system such as loss of power, pipe breaks, and source water impacts from road salt.  The document also puts appropriate response and recovery actions into a checklist format that communities should find useful.  Generally divided into segments of planning, coordination, communications, personnel, power and fuel, and service areas, the eight-page document is a handy quick reference for water and wastewater systems.  It also has a useful reference links list for more information.  Take a look at the checklist here.

 

 

Advertisements

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.

 

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 Drought Guide Now Includes Response Template

EPA’s Drought Guide, originally published in March of 2016, is an interactive tool designed to assist small- to medium-sized water utilities with responding to drought. The guide, which includes best practices and customizable worksheets, focuses on short-term emergency drought mitigation actions that also build long-term resilience to drought.

Based on feedback gathered from stakeholders, the Guide has been revised to include a new Drought Response Plan Template. This template offers a step-by-step approach to creating a response plan in a customizable, fillable format.

The expanded Guide continues to include an interactive drought case studies map, a multimedia GeoPlatform website documenting, in both video and written form, the unique stories of seven utilities across the country that have responded successfully to extreme drought conditions. Two new case studies are in the works and should be viewable by the end of the year.

You may download the updated Drought Response and Recovery Guide and Template at: www.epa.gov/waterutilityresponse/drought-response-and-recovery-for-water-utilities

Questions? Please contact EPA’s Dawn Ison at 513-569-7686 or by email at ison.dawn@epa.gov

 

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 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

National Preparedness Month 2017: Week 1

September is National Preparedness Month (NPM) and communities across the nation are taking action to prepare for the next emergency. EPA is participating in these efforts by sending weekly communications on steps that can be taken at the local level to enhance resilience to water emergencies. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, this first week of NPM focuses on natural disasters to help communities prepare for and maintain water services during an emergency event. Check out the related resources and tools on EPA’s website that include guides for Hazard Mitigation, Flood Resilience, and Drought Response and Recovery.

WEEK 1: PREPARE FOR CONTAMINATION EMERGENCIES

Prepare for contamination emergencies to maintain water services in your community. Check out the resources below to start planning today!

Water Quality Surveillance

Water Laboratory Alliance

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

Resilience Planning for Small Systems

Our Environmental Finance Center Network (EFCN) partners are hosting a webinar titled Resilience:  Planning on Disaster and Preparing for Disruption.  How do you prevent or mitigate the duration of severity of water service interruptions – especially if you’re a small system?

DATE:              Wednesday, September 20

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

REGISTER:      https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/7020594331405763586

This event will outline a basic framework for small water systems to use in in their resilience planning.  It will also offer various tools and resources to help get plan implementation off the ground.

 

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.