Making Critical Connections

State primacy agencies may recall that EPA and ASDWA worked together several years ago to develop a document called Bridging the Gap:  Coordination between State Primacy Agencies and State Emergency Management Agencies as a way to begin to have those critical conversations before an emergency takes place.

EPA’s Water Security Division has just published a new document to help water utilities and emergency management agencies make those same important connections and have those same important conversations.  Connecting Water Utilities and Emergency Management Agencies summarizes some best practices on how water utilities and emergency management agencies can increase their coordination. Through joint exercises, coordinated planning, and other activities, water utilities and emergency management agencies can more effectively respond to emergencies and improve their communication with the public.  This document also includes examples of cross-sector coordination.

Please share this information with your water utilities.

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The March ORD Monthly Webinar Series Features Water Security & Resiliency

DATE:              Tuesday, March 27

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

REGISTER:      Click here

In this webinar, EPA’s Office of Research and Development is exploring two aspects of water security and resilience – improving emergency response through the Water Lab Alliance (WLA) and sampling and analysis tools for water emergencies.

The Water Lab Alliance presentation will provide an overview of WLA, highlighting several of its available tools and resources that systems – including small systems – can use to improve emergency response.

The Sampling and Analysis Tools presentation will describe sampling and analysis tools that EPA provides to water utilities for improving drinking water and wastewater system resilience to disasters and to quickly recover from chem/bio/rad agents.

Please share this invitation with your state’s water systems and those in your program with an interest in security and resilience.

Two New WSD Webinars

EPA’s Water Security Division is hosting two new webinars as part of their Water Quality Surveillance and Response Webinar Series.  See below for details.

  1. Risk of Drinking Water Contamination and Actions to Prepare

DATE:              March 20, 2018

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

REGISTER:      Click here

This webinar focuses on:

  • The risk of drinking water contamination through case studies of real world incidents
  • How readily available data can be used to detect a wide range of water quality problems
  • How response planning can help to effectively manage a water contamination incident

  1. Online Water Quality Monitoring for Source Waters

DATE:    April 10, 2018

TIME:    1:00-2:00PM (eastern)

REGISTER:  Click here

This webinar focuses on:

  • How West Virginia American Water designed an effective source water monitoring system
  • Common design considerations for implementing an online water quality monitoring system
  • How to select monitoring locations and parameters to meet utility unique monitoring goals

Different approaches to information management and data analysis

EPA WSD Offers Training Opportunities

Water/Wastewater Boot Camp Training!

EPA just updated the Water/Wastewater All-Hazards Boot Camp computer training. The self-paced training teaches utilities to incorporate emergency management activities into their programs and build resilience to all hazards. The updated release includes the latest tools and resources from EPA and other Water Sector partners.  Click here to start the training!

 

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

March 29, 2018 at 1:00 PM, eastern  Register Here

This training will cover how participating in a full-scale exercise 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.

 

Sampling Guidance for Unknown Contaminants

April 26, 2018 at 1:00 PM, eastern  Register Here

Participants will learn how to use WLA’s Sampling Guidance for Unknown Contaminants by examining the collection of unknown samples in response to a drinking water contamination incident. Training is intended for drinking water utilities, state and local governments, emergency responders and laboratory personnel.

 

EPA WSD Shares New Resource

Customer Complaint Surveillance (CCS) Resources:  Guidance and instructional videos for CCS are now available from EPA’s Water Security Division by clicking here.  “Designing Customer Complaint Surveillance for Water Quality Surveillance and Response Systems” provides guidance for designing a system to analyze customer complaints to detect water quality problems (e.g. taste, odor or appearance complaints).  The 48 page document contains several embedded forms, templates, and examples (to view these materials, you must first download the PDF version of document).  The “Instructional Videos on Customer Complaint Surveillance Tools” provide an overview and training on how to use two previously published tools, the Alarm Estimation Tool and the Threshold Analysis Tool.  Both are designed to help utilities analyze drinking water complaint data.  The videos range in viewing time from 5-9 minutes (total viewing time for all six videos is less than 40 min).

Homeland Security Research Webinar Series

Please join our colleagues from EPA’s Homeland Security Research Center as they host a webinar to discuss how Small and Large Water Systems are Piloting Real-time Data Analytics to Improve Water Quality and Preparedness.

DATE:              March 12, 2018

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

REGISTER:      Here

EPA’s Homeland Security Research Program has developed and pilot deployed real-time analytics hardware and software (RTX:LINK and EPANET-RTX) in both large and small systems (Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, and Colorado).  The RTX:LINK and EPANET-RTX applications to the City of Flint, Michigan will help with daily operations by monitoring system-wide flows, pressures, and water age in real time.

The RTX:LINK hardware/software tool provides a simple and secure access to key water utility operational data streams, using web-based dashboards for trending and alerting. RTX:LINK helps drinking water utilities more easily access and use their water system SCADA data to provide improved water system operations and management through the power of real-time analytics.  EPANET-RTX software integrates a utility’s SCADA data with their hydraulic network model for real-time prediction of system-wide flows, pressures, and water quality. RTX:LINK has been piloted in the cities of Milford, Ohio and Flint Michigan and is in the process of being deployed at additional small and large systems across the U.S.

This webinar will describe these hardware/software tools and talk about how they are transforming the way hydraulic modeling of drinking water systems is performed and how the tools can be used to improve a water utility’s preparedness and response capabilities.

Do You Know About VSAT Web 1.0?

Last Fall, EPA’s Water Security Division released a web-enabled version of the Water or Wastewater Utility Vulnerability Self-Assessment Tool (VSAT).  The new VSAT model is also more appropriate for smaller systems.  Simply, VSAT Web is a user-friendly tool that can help drinking water and wastewater utilities of all sizes to enhance their security and resiliency.

With VSAT Web, a utility can:

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

Additional Highlights of VSAT Web Include:

  • Designed for mobile devices like tablets and iPads, as well as personal computers
  • Runs on most Internet browsers.
  • No VSAT Web user data is stored by or visible to EPA
  • Complies with risk assessment standards, and
  • Offers liability protection under the Department of Homeland Security’s Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies (SAFETY) Act program.

Click Open VSAT Web 1.0 to view the document.  ASDWA encourages you to share this information with your water systems to make sure they have access to the most recent risk assessment tools!

 

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.

 

 

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