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SECURITY: VA to DC

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What has happened regarding security in the water and wastewater industry since 9/11? Clearly security has become a high profile issue but how much real progress is being made? As a result of Federal legislation and funding in 2002 every water utility serving over 100,000 population completed and submitted a Vulnerability Assessment (VA). More than 90% of all water systems serving more than 50,000 people have prepared VA's as have many smaller systems as well as many wastewater systems. Three excellent VA tools were developed and used by utilities for this important assessment process. The educational efforts of AWWA, WEF, NACWA, AMWA, and Rural Water have been effective in distributing security information to utilities via workshops, consultants, demonstrations, web casts, conferences, printed materials and the internet. At the federal level EPA is the designated agency responsible for water sector security. EPA has and continues to sponsor programs and research to enhance the security efforts in the water sector. The Dept. of Homeland Security has the overall responsibility for the protection program for the country against terrorism. AwwaRF and WERF have developed a security research agenda. Organizations such as the WaterISAC and the Water Sector Coordinating Council (WSCC) were formed to share and coordinate critical information and actions for the sector. The National Drinking Water Advisory Council (NDWAC) formed a special Water Sector Working Group (WSWG) and prepared key elements of a water sector security plan. Congressional investigation agencies have performed surveys and prepared reports assessing security and addressing critical issues in the water and wastewater sector. Even with all of these important developments the actual status of security actions in the water sector is not clear. Many utilities are moving forward with security programs at significant expense but with little guidance and coordination from national or state agencies. The secrecy around this issue makes it difficult for information to be shared in a normal process, yet the lack of information may cause significant waste of critical resources. The writer who is a member of the WaterISAC Board and the Water Sector Coordinating Council will discuss some of these developments and describe a possible method to track both local utility programs and identify a national status using summary output from the VA of individual utilities.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-01-01

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