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Following in the wake of the Public Health and Bioterrorism Act of 2002, which addressed security concerns in the drinking water industry, various bills have been proposed that could radically alter the way security is handled at wastewater facilities. Regardless of the status of this legislation and its mandates, the question for forward-thinking utility managers remains, should security be a priority for wastewater utilities….or is it just a blip on the screen?

Our presentation will illustrate the lessons learned concerning security within the drinking water industry; the status of legislation focused on wastewater and ancillary facilities; the best methodologies for assessing security vulnerabilities; and will address the five primary asset categories (defined as customers, people, knowledge base, information technology, and infrastructure by AMSA) for any wastewater treatment facility in terms of security.

We will present case studies for 1-3 wastewater utilities that have already assessed their vulnerabilities and are actively modifying their policies and procedures, as well as hardening facility physical environments to address security concerns. In addition, we will focus on emergency planning as a critical element of risk reduction and security management.

We will attempt to answer the following questions:

What are the key questions any utility should answer prior to investing in security enhancements?

What are the pros and cons of utility self-assessment vs. employing outside assistance?

What are the immediate risk reduction and mitigation steps a facility can take to maximize the impact of their investment and minimize existing vulnerabilities?

What are the biggest barriers to successfully reducing risk? Will the hidden “weakest link” undermine your security measures?

Recognizing the culture changes inherent in identifying and addressing potential threats, risks, and consequences, we will focus on the ongoing needs of wastewater utility managers. We will illustrate examples of how regulators, local first responders, homeland security offices, consultants, and utility managers are working together to make the necessary changes – from human resources to capital projects – to address security concerns.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2004

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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