Security: Water and Wastewater
Helping Your Community Deal with the Unexpected
Over the last several years, concerns with and discussions about infrastructure security—often characterized by the term "resilience"—have taken on a broader and more nuanced meaning.
Resilience takes the notion of security beyond terrorist attacks on our infrastructure to incorporate anything that could disrupt vital services such as drinking water and wastewater. A resilient community is better able to maintain continuity of operations in the face of human-made and natural disasters, energy crises, pandemics, an unstable economy, or any combination of these occurrences.
The National Environmental Services Center (NESC) has assembled information about protecting small drinking water and wastewater systems against potential threats.
Below, you'll find a collection of articles, checklists, phone numbers, and web sites from NESC and other organizations across the country.
Water/Wastewater Agency Response Networks
The mission of Water/Wastewater Agency Response Networks (WARNs) is to provide expedited access to specialized resources needed to respond to and recover from natural and human caused events that disrupt public and private drinking water and wastewater utilities. Unlike existing statewide mutual aid agreements, WARN membership is open to both public and private utilities. By adopting the WARN approach to mutual aid and assistance, drinking water and wastewater utilities in each state are able to sign a single agreement covering issues such as indemnification, workers' compensation, and reimbursement. The agreement also allows for utilities to share equipment, personnel, and other resources to respond effectively to any crisis.
Improving the security of our nation's drinking water and wastewater infrastructures has become a top priority since the tragic events of 9/11.
Significant actions are underway to assess and reduce vulnerabilities to potential terrorist attacks; to plan for and practice response to emergencies and incidents; and to develop new security technologies to detect and monitor contaminants and prevent security breaches.
This web site provides resources for water utilities, state and local governments, public health officials, emergency responders and planners, assistance and training providers, environmental professionals, researchers and engineers, and law enforcement personnel, among others.
EPA Fact Sheet . . . Small Water Systems A Vital Component of WARN
nesc.wvu.edu/security/pdf/watersecurity_warn_small_systems.pdf - [pdf file . 72KB]
Every existing WARN includes small systems as members and all member utilities have equal rights, regardless of size. Small systems are eligible to serve on the various WARN committees and subcommittees, as well as serve as the WARN chair, if elected to the position. Small systems, like all members, can request or send resources during an emergency, but are not obligated to do so if they decide not to for any reason. Existing WARNs have found that small systems are typically best prepared to respond to other small systems' requests, since they are more familiar with the equipment used at small systems. Additionally, personnel and equipment from small systems can be pooled into a combined team to assist larger systems, if needed.
EPA Fact Sheet . . . Tribal Water Systems A Vital Component of WARN
nesc.wvu.edu/security/pdf/watersecurity_warn_tribal_systems.pdf - [pdf file . 72KB]
WARN recognizes that a tribal government is an independent sovereign nation. Tribal legal counsel should evaluate the Model WARN Agreement or the WARN Agreement for the state in which the tribe is located to determine if the agreement impacts its sovereign status or established tribal laws in any way.
Association of State Drinking Water Administrators Security
ASDWA's Critical Infrastructure Protection section provides a collection of Internet resources dealing with security and protection for drinking water infrastructure. Note that the documents are posted in the format that they were in when they were sent to ASDWA (e.g., Word, WordPerfect, PDF). For more information about security, please contact Deirdre Mason. If you need a document in a specific format, or if you have any information that you would like to post, please e-mail Anthony DeRosa.
Department of Homeland Security (Infrastructure)
Partnership between the public and private sectors is essential for secutiry, in part because the private sector owns and operates approximately 85 percent of the nation's critical infrastructure.
Government agencies, on the other hand, have access to critical threat information. Each controls security programs, research and development, and other resources that may be more effective if discussed and shared, as appropriate, in a partnership setting.
WaterISAC Water Security Network
WaterISAC is a community of water professionals who share a common purpose: to protect public health and the environment. This resource serves as a clearinghouse for government and private information that helps subscribers identify risks, prepare for emergencies and secure the nation's critical water infrastructure.