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!

 

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EPA WSD Offers Webinars, Workshops, and Requests for Input

Below are some upcoming resilience opportunities available to state drinking water programs as well as water and wastewater utilities. Please share these opportunities.

Webinars and Workshop 

Water Contaminant Information Tool (WCIT) Training

February 22, 2018 at 11:00 AM ET

 

This training is designed to introduce and refresh users on 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: https://usepa-wcit-training.eventbrite.com

Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) Template Training

February 28, 2018 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:  https://us-epa-wla-coop.eventbrite.com

 

Nevada Water and Emergency Services Sectors Coordination Workshop

March 13, 2018

Las Vegas, Nevada

The U.S. EPA Water Security Division and the Las Vegas Valley Water District will be hosting a Water and Emergency Services Sectors Coordination workshop on March 13, 2018. The free one-day workshop will include presentations from drinking water and wastewater utilities, as well as local, state and federal emergency response and law enforcement agencies.  It will also include a tabletop exercise involving a possible intentional water contamination incident that impacts water and wastewater services, law enforcement, local emergency management, public health, and local hospitals. The workshop aims to increase coordination and communication between water utilities, emergency management, and law enforcement.  It will also provide law enforcement personnel with a better understanding of water system infrastructure and operations.

The target audience is:

  • Drinking water and wastewater utilities
  • Local, state, and federal law enforcement departments and agencies
  • Local, state, and federal emergency management agencies

To register, please visit:  https://epa-nv-water-ess-workshop.eventbrite.com

 

Requesting Partners Input

Water and Healthcare/Public Health Workshop.  The U.S. EPA Water Security Division plans to conduct a workshop in the western U.S. and is seeking interested stakeholders in the area.  The one-day workshop will comprise presentations discussing cross-sector communication between the local area water utility and healthcare/public health entities.  A water loss scenario in the afternoon provides the opportunity to discuss improvement to existing communication protocols between the water and health sectors. For more information, please contact Chrissy Dangel, 513-569-7821).

Water Sector Power Resilience Summit – To be held in September 2018

EPA plans to partner with water associations, state agencies, water utilities, energy providers, energy associations and other key partners to host a two-day Water Sector Power Resilience Summit.  The objective of the summit is to discuss and advance the water sector’s preparedness for a long-duration, widespread power outage.  We are still in the early planning stages, but plan to host an event for 150-250 people in the DC-area in September 2018.  We are looking for volunteers to participate in a summit planning team that will help to develop the summit agenda, identify potential speakers, and share information about the summit to water sector stakeholders.  We anticipate that volunteers would participate in approximately six one-hour teleconferences between January and September 2018 and spend several hours reviewing documents or completing action items from the teleconferences during that eight-month time period.  For more information, please contact Lauren Wisniewski 202-564-2918.

 

 

Upcoming Decon R&D Conference

EPA is hosting the 2017 International Decontamination Research and Development Conference (May 8-10, 2018 at the US EPA Campus in Research Triangle Park, NC).  While the larger Conference focuses on R&D for a range of chemical, biological, and radiological contamination incidents; this year, there will be a particular emphasis on the Decontamination Preparedness and Assessment Strategy (DPAS) and its Preparedness Checklist.

During the Conference, participants will be able to start the planning process and to identify what they need to do when they return home. Each attendee could complete the Preparedness Checklist and other worksheets using a real-world system that they have knowledge of as either an operator, TA provider or consultant. An example utility will also be described that can be used to review the strategy.

For more information about the Conference, please review the proceedings from the 2016 event at this link 2016 DECON CONFERENCE REPORT

If you are interested in participating in this Conference, please contact Marissa Lynch Lynch.Marissa@epa.gov at EPA’s Water Security Division.

Black Sky Hazards and Water Sector Resilience Webinar

You are invited to join WaterISAC and the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) for a free webinar on Black Sky power outage hazards and water sector resilience.


DATE:
              January 23, 2018

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

REGISTER:    www.waterisac.org/events

Dr. Paul Stockton, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense, will discuss how Black Sky power outages – those lasting a month or more and affecting multiple states – could turn a natural or manmade disaster into a catastrophe. He will also address resilience measures and provide insight into factors that water and wastewater utilities might consider in order to maintain minimal service levels during Black Sky outages.  Lauren Wisniewski from EPA’s Water Security Division will provide an overview of EPA’s Power Resilience Guide and discuss upcoming EPA and sector activities focused on Black Sky outages and resilience.

The webinar is open to anyone in the water and wastewater sector, interdependent sectors, and partner organizations. Please contact info@waterisac.org with any questions.

 

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

 

 

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’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