Tabletop Exercise Tool for Drinking Water and Wastewater Utilities

EPA’s Water Security Division has just updated the Tabletop Exercise (TTX) Tool for drinking water and wastewater utilities.  The TTX tool provides users with the resources to plan, conduct and evaluate tabletop exercises. The 2018 version of the TTX tool contains 12 customizable all-hazards scenarios (e.g., natural disasters, man-made incidents) that will assist utilities to practice, test and help improve emergency response plans and procedures.

To download the TTX tool (zip file) and view the different scenarios, click here.

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Enhancing Cyber Hygiene

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) hosted a webinar to share cyber threat and resilience information.  Several of the cyber hygiene recommendations offered during the web event may be helpful as you work with water systems to enhance their ability to provide safe drinking water.

One particular aspect of the webinar focused on trends that NCCIC analysts are seeing in the field related to cyber hygiene.  Practical corrective actions and recommended next steps were also discussed.  The trends fall into five major areas:

  • Continued use of End of Life (EOL) network devices – those that are no longer supported by vendor patches and devices that are not being replaced during update/tech refresh cycles.
  • Default/weak security configurations – use of default or weak credentials, devices put onto networks with “out of the box” configurations, or no implementation of vendor/government device hardened guidance
  • Use of unsecure/unencrypted remote access protocols – administrator access directly over the internet or external use of FTP/TFTP.
  • Poor security monitoring – lack of visibility for administrator access, device logging not implemented, or lack of visibility of configuration changes to network devices.
  • Continued reliance on the old “network operations” mentality – network device security monitoring is secondary to the operations tasks.

The discussions surrounding the above categories were not directed specifically toward water utilities; however, most would easily apply to any utility with a SCADA system.  The presentations also included information about the NCCIC and its role within DHS, broad discussions of cyber threats and exposures, and a separate section on the Federal response.  The complete powerpoint presentation is available at this link.  You are encouraged to share these materials with your colleagues in the water community.

Environmental Finance Center Network Hosts Two Useful Small System Webinars

EFCN Partners Host Several Useful Small Systems Webinars

The Environmental Finance Center Network (EFCN) receives funds from EPA to provide information and assistance for small systems.  While most of their efforts look within a system’s technical, managerial, or financial capabilities, the two webinars below look at planning and resilience efforts.

Managing Disasters Before Disasters Strike

DATE:              Wednesday, October 10, 2018

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

REGISTER:      Click here

This webinar will explore emergency management and resilience strategies that can help small systems prepare for disasters. Discussions will cover trends in hazards, critical infrastructure stressors, and what steps small systems can take to adapt to an uncertain future.

Risk and Resilience: Assessing Vulnerability for Coastal Communities

DATE:              Friday, November 2, 2018

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

REGISTER:      Click here

In light of an ever-changing climate and increasingly stressed infrastructure, we must take steps towards preventing and mitigating the duration and severity of water service interruptions. This webinar will discuss the importance of understanding risk, explore what it means to be a resilient coastal system, and suggest strategies for conducting basic vulnerability assessments.

Quarterly Newsletter – EPA Water Security Division

Our EPA colleagues have several interactive opportunities that you may be interested in:

  1. Hurricane – Be Ready!

EPA has developed tools to help water utilities prepare for, respond to, and recover from hurricane-related impacts. Check out our incident action checklist and other free resources…and remember to heed watches and warnings issued by your local National Weather Service forecast office.  Want to know more?  Click here

  1. Water Sector Power and Black Sky Resilience Summit

On September 19, EPA is hosting a one-day Water Sector Power and Black Sky Resilience Summit in Herndon, VA to discuss and advance the water sector’s preparedness for a long duration, widespread power outage.

There will be presentations and discussions on black sky threats, generators, alternative power options, microgrids, critical interdependencies, and communications. The focus will be on some of the challenges and potential solutions to a long duration power outage. The target audience is drinking water and wastewater utilities, water and energy associations, electric utilities, and local, state, and federal government agencies. To participate in person Register Here  If you are outside the DC metropolitan area and are interested in participating in a webcast of the event, please send an email to Lauren Wisniewski at wisniewski.lauren@epa.gov.

  1. Webinar – Customer Complaint Surveillance for Detecting Drinking Water Contamination

DATE:              September 11, 2018

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

REGISTRATION:  Register Here

This webinar will describe how water quality complaints from customers can be analyzed in real time to detect emerging water quality problems. It will describe methods and tools that can be used to analyze historical data to set thresholds that minimize the frequency of invalid alerts without compromising detection capabilities.

  1. Webinar – Public Health Surveillance for Detecting Drinking Water Contamination

 DATE:              October 9, 2018

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

REGISTRATION:           Register Here

This webinar will discuss the role that public health partners can play in detecting and responding to drinking water contamination incidents.  It will provide an overview of common public health partners as well as the types of surveillance they perform.  Examples of the application of public health surveillance to monitor for water contamination incidents will be presented.  There will also be a discussion of roles and responsibilities during a joint water utility/public health agency investigation of possible water contamination.

  1. Webinar – Response Planning for Distribution System Contamination Incidents

 DATE:              November 6, 2018

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

REGISTRATION:           Register Here

This webinar will provide an overview of the response to a distribution system contamination incident and the steps utilities can take to prepare their own response procedure. It will cover roles and responsibilities when working with response partners. The webinar will also discuss possible response actions that can be implemented to minimize consequences, such as operational changes to reduce the spread of contaminated water and public notification to minimize customers’ exposure to contaminated water.

Free Water Security Webinars

EPA’s Water Security Division has scheduled several webinar information and training events during July and August.  There’s also an invitation to participate in a September Power and Resilience Black Sky Summit.  For more information, please read on.

Communication Systems for Smart Utility Infrastructure

DATE:              July 17, 2018

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

REGISTER:      Click here

This webinar will discuss considerations for evaluating and selecting data communications systems that meet the unique requirements of smart utility infrastructure, including remote water quality and security monitoring equipment. Also, the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati will present a case study about its smart sewer network.

Air Regulations for Generators at Water Utilities

DATE:              July 25, 2018

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

REGISTER:      Click here

This webinar will provide an overview of the air regulations for stationary generators including the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) and the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines (RICE).  It will outline the requirements for a water utility purchasing new diesel generators.  The presentation will also compare the requirements for emergency generators with the requirements for generators used for demand response/peak shaving. You will hear from speakers such as Melanie King, EPA Office of Air and Radiation and Sara Ayres, EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

Puerto Rico Water and Sewer Authority’s Response to Hurricane Maria Webinar

DATE:              August 8, 2018

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

REGISTER:      Click here

Eli Diaz-Atienza, President of Puerto Rico’s Water and Sewer Authority (PRASA) will describe how the utility was impacted by the loss of power caused by Hurricane Maria.  At its peak, PRASA was utilizing 1610 generators at its 114 drinking water plants, 51 wastewater plants, and pump stations.  This presentation will discuss some of the challenges with operating, maintaining, and fueling the generators.  It will also summarize some of the lessons learned and plans for increasing its resilience.

Free Power and Black Sky Resilience Summit

Water Sector Power and Black Sky Resilience Summit (September 19, 2018 in Herndon, VA)

EPA is hosting a one-day Water Sector Power and Black Sky Resilience Summit to discuss and advance the water sector’s preparedness for a long duration, widespread power outage. There will be presentations and discussions on black sky threats, generators, alternative power options (e.g., combined heat and power, solar), critical interdependencies, and communications. The focus will be on some of the challenges and potential solutions to a long duration power outage.  The target audience is drinking water and wastewater utilities, water and energy associations, electric utilities, and local, state, and federal government agencies.  Register at: https://epa-black-sky-summit.eventbrite.com

EPA WSD Hosts a Variety of Web Events in June

Our colleagues in EPA’s Water Security Division offer three interesting opportunities for states and utilities to learn about water quality monitoring, field responses for contamination incidents, and fuel supply planning:

Online Water Quality Monitoring for Distribution Systems

This is part of the ongoing Water Quality Surveillance and Response Webinar Series.

DATE:              June 5, 2018

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

REGISTER:      Here

This event will discuss design considerations to implement and operate an online water quality monitoring system for a distribution system.  The focus will be on monitoring location selection, monitoring parameters, and information management and analysis.

Field Response Planning for Drinking Water Contamination Emergency

DATE:              June 14, 2018

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

REGISTER:      Here

Learn how to prepare for basic and advanced field response activities; the hazard decision points in the field response process; how to document field information and findings using provided templates and forms; and where to find additional resources for planning and training.

Fuel Supply Planning

DATE:              June 28, 2018

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

REGISTER:      Here

Hear how Oregon developed a Fuel Action Plan to mitigate the impact of a catastrophic earthquake that would devastate Oregon’s fuel supply and distribution capability.  Issues such as prioritization, distribution, waivers and security when trying to obtain fuel for generators during a long duration, widespread power outage will be addressed.

Two EPA Water Quality Surveillance and Response Systems Webinars

Our colleagues at EPA’s Water Security Division are offering two webinars as part of their monthly series schedule:

Enhanced Security Monitoring

DATE:              May 8, 2018

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

REGISTER:      Click here

This webinar will discuss design considerations for enhancing the security at water distribution system facilities that are at risk of intentional contamination. Topics covered will include methods to prioritize facilities for security enhancements, intrusion detection, video monitoring, and commissioning best practices. The webinar will also discuss the potential role of advanced metering infrastructure in distribution system security.

Online Water Quality Monitoring for Distribution Systems

DATE:              June 5, 2018

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

REGISTER:      Click here

This webinar will discuss design considerations for implementing and operating an online water quality monitoring system that covers a distribution system. It will focus on selection of monitoring locations, selection of parameters to monitor, and information management and analysis. Also, a case study will be presented to show how the Philadelphia Water Department has addressed various design considerations to maximize the benefit provided by their system.

Are You Cyber Aware?

EPA’s Water Security Division is hosting a webinar titled Are You Cyber Aware? to help utilities consider useful next steps in cyber awareness and preparedness.  The hour long event will also showcase best practices and case studies on cyber preparedness.  You are invited to attend and learn about top tips and resources to prepare to respond to a cyber attack.  

DATE:              May 17, 2018

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

REGISTER:      Click here

EPA WSD Offers Three Different Decon Opportunities

For Water Utilities – May 7:

EPA’s Water Security Division will be conducting a half-day Workshop on the Decontamination Preparedness and Assessment Strategy for Water Utilities on May 7 at the at the EPA’s Research Triangle Park Campus, North Carolina. The workshop will focus on understanding the three phases of remediation (Characterization, Decontamination and Clearance) prior to a contamination event. The workshop includes interactive discussions that examine the simulated effect of a chemical release at drinking water and wastewater utilities of a fictitious community.

At the end of the workshop, participants will:

  • Understand and become familiar with the steps of the remediation process.
  • Identify utility-specific actions to be taken prior to an incident.
  • Understand and know where to locate other resources and tools that may be helpful to prepare for and respond to an incident.
  • Be aware of public health and environmental safety considerations that apply to each phase of remediation.

For States and Water Utilities – May 7:

EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) will be conducting a panel discussion after the above workshop to introduce a State/Local Engagement Plan focusing on management of emergency contamination incidents regardless of cause. ORD is seeking feedback from state and local organizations, water utilities, and authorities on how best to optimize interactions.

For both the Workshop and Panel discussion, participants must RSVP by April 20 at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2018-epa-international-decontamination-conference-water-utility-workshop-tickets-44158809187

For questions about this workshop, please contact Marissa Lynch at lynch.marissa@epa.gov. For more information about the panel discussion, please contact plotkin.viktoriya@epa.gov.

For States, Utilities and Researchers – May 8-10

EPA’s Office of Research and Development’s National Homeland Security Research Center (NHSRC) will be hosting their 10th International Conference on Decontamination Research and Development held at the EPA’s Research Triangle Park Campus, North Carolina, May 8-10. The conference is designed to facilitate presentation, discussion, and further collaboration on research and development focused on an all-hazards approach to cleaning up contaminated buildings (both interior and exterior), infrastructure, and other areas/materials. The conference continues to focus strongly on matters involving CBR threat agents, but also includes all hazard elements.

Topics for this conference include:

  • New chemical, biological, and radiological (CBR) detection and decontamination research data or field activities and large scale demonstrations related to the detection and decontamination of biological (including agricultural threat agents and biotoxins), chemical, and radiological threat agents in indoor (in facilities) or outdoor areas/materials;
  • Cross-cutting topics related to restoration, including: clean-up levels/risk assessment, exposure assessment, sampling/analysis of threat agents, fate/transport/containment, material compatibility with decontamination processes, tool and guidance development, waste management of threat agent-contaminated materials, water/wastewater decontamination, and systems approach to response and regulatory issues;
  • Regional, state, and local initiatives highlighting local priorities, challenges, and science and technology developments related to response and recovery efforts from intentional or accidental environmental incidents; and
  • Special topics: new to this year’s conference is the introduction of a special topics category. These topics will address emerging issues as identified by the conference committee. This year’s special topics are:
    • Emerging threats: work addressing emerging threats (e.g., fentanyl, drug lab cleanup, etc.);
    • Recent disaster response: examples of work supporting large-scale natural disaster response efforts;
    • Research to response: best practices for bridging the gap between R&D and field operations; and
    • All Hazards Remediation (non-CBR): remediation efforts related to a variety of disasters/incidents outside of core homeland security responsibilities

Participant attending the decontamination workshop on May 7 are welcome to attend the 2018 EPA International Decontamination Research and Development Conference. Participants can register for the conference at this link: https://www.epa.gov/homeland-security-research/2018-epa-international-decontamination-research-and-development

For questions about the conference, please contact Susan Blaine at 703-225-2471 or EPA_Decon@icf.com

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.