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The Key Features of an Active and Effective Protective Program: An Integrated Approach to Improving Utility Security

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Recent natural disasters, such as earthquakes in Haiti, New Zealand, and Japan; and tornados and flooding across the United States, emphasize the need for preparedness by both water utilities and the general public. But natural disasters are not the only threats to water utilities. Terrorism, vandalism, and accidents can also cause water contamination and water service interruptions leading to serious economic, public health, safety, environmental, and psychological impacts on communities.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), in conjunction with the Water Sector, developed the Key Features of an Active and Effective Protective Program (Key Features) (see Figure 1.) The Key Features help owners and operators of drinking water and wastewater utilities prevent, detect, respond to and recover from adverse effects of all hazards.

The US EPA conducted several case studies in 2010 and 2011, which demonstrate how individual water utilities have implemented the Key Features, and the benefits and challenges experienced from their use. The case studies emphasize that by adopting the Key Features, water utility owners and operators can effectively mitigate the potential public health, economic, and environmental consequences of all-hazards, while improving the overall effectiveness and efficiency of utility operations. Participants of this session will learn how water utilities can develop a comprehensive security program to prepare for threats from all hazards, while also improving overall operations.

Keywords: Water sector; all-hazards; partnerships; preparedness; resiliency; utilities

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2011

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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 These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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