EPA WSD Invites Your Participation

There are several water resilience opportunities – tool reviews, webinars, workshops – available for primacy agencies and utilities in the near future.  Take a look and sign up today.

Stakeholder Review of VSAT Web

EPA is asking stakeholders to review a new water sector risk assessment application-VSAT Web. The application has been redesigned and formatted into a web-based easy-to-use version. Drinking water, wastewater, primacy agencies, water sector associations and others in the Water Sector are encouraged to review the new version of VSAT and provide feedback on the beta version no later than May 26 using the “feedback” link at https://vsatval.42six.com/vsat/

U.S. EPA: Free Preparedness Resources for Water Utilities |June 7, 2017 @1:00 PM ET

WSD is hosting another preparedness webinar introducing the new Route to Resilience Tool to drinking water and wastewater utilities. Drinking water and wastewater utilities in 38 states will receive continuing education units for participating. Register for the webinar here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/us-epa-free-preparedness-resources-for-water-utilities-webinar-tickets-34318437370?utm-medium=discovery&utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&aff=escb&utm-source=cp&utm-term=eventcard

Hosting Healthcare/Public Health and Water Interdependencies Workshops

WSD is coordinating a series of Healthcare/Public Health and Water workshops throughout the Continental US.  The workshops consist of presentations from Healthcare and Public Health Sector organizations, along with area water utilities.  The afternoon portion of the workshop is a tabletop exercise designed to be relevant to the workshop location.  If you are interested in hosting a workshop in your area, please contact Chrissy Dangel at dangel.chrissy@epa.gov no later than June 30.

Interested in Proposing Locations for Incident Command System (ICS) Training?

WSD is offering a few in-person ICS trainings including ICS-100, ICS-200, ICS 300/400 and IS-700 NIMS and IS-800 NRF. We have tentative plans to schedule ICS trainings in Indiana, Northeast Wyoming, and Region 1. We are open to proposed locations for a few more trainings. Please contact David Goldbloom-Helzner at Goldbloom-Helzner.David@epa.gov with a suggestion location and a local/state contact no later than June 15.

Interested in Proposing Locations for Flood Resilience Training?

WSD is offering a couple one-day Flood Resilience Trainings for Water and Wastewater Utilities. The topics covered including understanding the flooding threat, identifying vulnerable assets, evaluating mitigation options, and accessing funding. We want to conduct the trainings by July 31, 2017 if possible and we already have some interest in North Carolina. It is key that we have state trainers (e.g., state Rural Water Association or AWWA Section) that can co-teach the class with EPA and plan to offer additional training at other times in the future. Please contact David Goldbloom-Helzner at Goldbloom-Helzner.David@epa.gov with a suggestion and a local/state contact no later than June 15.

Ransomware Response Recommendations

Our colleagues at DHS recommend that if any of your water systems are victims of a ransomware attack, they should take the following steps:

  1. Please contact your FBI Field Office Cyber Task Force (fbi.gov/contact-us/field/field-offices) immediately to report a ransomware event and request assistance. These professionals work with state and local law enforcement and other federal and international partners to pursue cyber criminals globally and to assist victims of cyber-crime.
  2. Please report cyber incidents to the US-CERT (us-cert.gov/ncas) and FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov).

For more information on cyber protections and the WannaCry Ransomware:

Recording – EPA Public Health Surveillance Webinar

If you were not able to participate in the April 19th webinar on Public Health Surveillance for Detecting Drinking Water Contamination, you may still view the informationThe recording of this webinar has been posted to EPA’s YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/E3WCAGq7Lmw

 

WSD Webinar Materials Available for a Limited Time

If you were not able to participate in EPA WSD’s May 10 webinar on “Why Should I Care About Collaboration?” you can still view the materials – but only for the next two weeks.  Go to https://www.sendthisfile.com/FbHVMOrWloJ6IfTxHxyAb5DV and see:

  • A recorded copy of the webinar, and
  • Presentation slides from the three speakers – Lauren Wisniewski (EPA WSD), Benjamin Ruppert (Hopewell, VA Fire & Rescue), and Jaimie Foreman (City of Carmel, IN).

Please also consider registering for the second and third webinars in this three part series:

Are You Ready for a Tornado?

As part of the month-long PrepareAthon! effort, EPA’s Water Security Division invites you to take a look at their Tornado Incident Action Checklist.  Do take that look.  Don’t presume that just because you don’t live in Tornado Alley that it won’t happen to you.  About two weeks ago, a small tornado tore through Northern Virginia taking down trees and taking off roofs.  This happened less than a mile from the Pentagon.  And, although the Commonwealth of Virginia is well known for many things, tornado activity is not among them!  It happened anyway!

The eight page doc includes links to numerous resources, a step-wise walk through activities related to planning, response and recovery, and thought provoking considerations for how to think about coordination, communication with customers, water system personnel concerns, and power, energy, and fuel needs.  There are also contact and checklists that water systems can complete.  Here’s the link to a downloadable version of the Incident Action Checklist for Tornadoes.  https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-06/documents/tornado.pdf

EPA ORD Tackles Water Security

Registration is now open for EPA’s Small Drinking Water Systems Webinar on Water Security and Resiliency.

DATE:              Tuesday, April 25, 2017

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

REGISTER:      https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/287664509489298691

The webinar will cover two different new tools designed to meet water utility needs.  The first is the Route to Resilience tool designed to help small and medium sized drinking water utilities learn more about becoming resilient to all hazards.  The second featured tool is the Water Network Tool for Resilience that should be released later this year.  This tool will help water utilities investigate the resilience of their systems to a wide range of hazardous scenarios and evaluate emergency response actions and long term resilience-enhancing strategies.

More information on both of these presentations is available when you click the registration link above.

EPA Shares PrepareAthon! Information and Resources

America’s PrepareAthon! is a grassroots campaign for action to increase community preparedness and resilience.  This year’s PrepareAthon! Takes place throughout the month of April.  This link https://community.fema.gov/news?lang=en_US will take you to more information about preparedness and the PrepareAthon! Initiative.

In support of PrepareAthon!, EPA’s Water Security Division has also been working on preparedness and resiliency for the Water Sector.  Take a look at the materials that they have prepared and shared (including helpful case studies) on flooding, drought, tornadoes, and hurricanes.  The tips found in these materials can be just what a water utility needs to get started or expand an effort that they already have underway to enhance their resiliency.  Click https://www.epa.gov/waterresilience/water-utilities-take-part-americas-prepareathon to learn more about EPA’s resources.  This link also has registration information for the May 3 Route to Resilience webinar for utilities.  You may recall that the state-focused webinar on this subject was held February 28.

Have an Emergency?  Did You Know…

The National Library of Medicine has decision support tools for emergency responders to help identify chemicals in mass casualty incidents, and once identified, to provide treatment support. These tools are available online and as apps to download on smart devices. Find links to apps here: https://disasterinfo.nlm.nih.gov/dimrc/toolsnlmdimrc.html

Be prepared ahead of time for a chemical spill or toxic chemical attack; familiarize yourself with these tools and incorporate them into drills.  Take a look at:

CHEMM-IST is a prototype decision support tool developed by experts in medicine and emergency response as an aid for identifying the chemical a patient was exposed to in a mass casualty incident. The focus of CHEMM-IST is only on severe cases. CHEMM-IST assumes that the patient has been exposed via the air, with potential toxic effects from inhalation, and also possible toxic effects from deposits on the skin from the air. Go to https://chemm.nlm.nih.gov/chemmist.htm

WISER (Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders) is a system designed to assist emergency responders in hazardous material incidents. The key feature of WISER is the support for identifying an unknown substance. WISER Help Identify can help an emergency responder identify and validate the unknown substance based on the following:

  • signs/symptoms of victims of exposure
  • physical properties of the substance gathered by observation or sensors
  • hazard values from NFPA 704 placards
  • the ability to categorize a substance, such as a substance used in a meth lab, a flammable substance, etc.
  • transportation identification, including DOT placards, type of road trailer, and type of rail car

For more information, go to https://wiser.nlm.nih.gov/

Microsoft Ending Support for Windows Vista

Editor’s Note:  This information was provided by our colleagues at the WaterISAC.

If you know of any water systems still using the Windows Vista operating system, please let them know about the following ASAP.

“All software products have a lifecycle.  After April 11, 2017, Microsoft is ending support for the Windows Vista operating system.  After this date, this product will no longer receive security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates from Microsoft.  Computers running the Windows Vista operating system will continue to work even after support ends.  However, using unsupported software may increase the risks of viruses and other security threats.  Users and administrators are encouraged to upgrade to a currently supported operating system.  For more information, see Microsoft’s Vista support and product lifecycle articles.”

EPA WSD Shares Two New Products

Build Field Capabilities for Drinking Water Contamination

Be better prepared to perform field response activities in a drinking water contamination emergency. This document provides planning and implementation guidance, templates, customizable report forms, and other documentation for basic and advanced field response activities.

Guidance for Building Field Capabilities to Respond to Drinking Water Contamination

 

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How to Share Resources Across State Lines

 EMAC (the Emergency Management Assistance Compact) provides for assistance during Governor-declared states of emergency that allows states to send personnel, equipment, and commodities to help disaster relief efforts in other states.  EPA has developed a factsheet that provides information on the EMAC process and how water systems can participate.  Click here to access the fact sheet

In addition, the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) maintains an EMAC eLearning portal http://www.emacweb.org/index.php/trainingeducation/interested-in-an-elearning-course that provides instruction in a self-paced, independent atmosphere. NEMA also offers training, workshops, and webinars upon reasonable request, if staffing allows.