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Securing Your Wastewater System

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This is a timely topic on Wastewater System Security, which will be facing the Nation's municipal wastewater collection and treatment systems in 2004 and beyond. Congress passed the Bio-Terrorism Act of 2002, which addressed the security of our Nation's Drinking Water Utilities serving populations over 3,300. Congress has been working throughout 2003 on similar legislation that will apply to the Nation's Wastewater Systems. This paper will provide the latest information about the pending federal wastewater security legislation and will provide information on complying with vulnerability assessment and emergency response planning including case study information of a few Wastewater Vulnerability Assessments that were completed in advance of the federal legislation. The paper will be broken down into the following sections and a brief overview of each section is provided:

New Federal Legislation (Pending) on Wastewater System Security Vulnerability Assessments for Wastewater Systems: This new legislation is likely to pass through both houses of Congress in 2004 and will also likely result in Wastewater Utilities compliance starting as early as 2005. We will discuss the current status of the legislation at the time of the WEFTEC 2004 Conference (October 2004) and the requirements that Utilities will need to meet including any deadlines.

Potential EPA Grants for Wastewater Systems serving 20,000 population or greater for Security Vulnerability Assessments, Emergency Operations Planning, Security Enhancement Designs, and Minor Security Enhancements: The pending federal legislation has potential grant funding similar to that provided for drinking water systems under the Bio-Terrorism Act of 2002. However, it appears that the funding may stretch down to smaller communities with populations above 20,000 versus the drinking water legislation, which only provided grants to large water systems serving over 100,000 people. Important information about these grants will be provided during the presentation including amounts available, grant application process, deadlines, …etc.

Review of Risk Assessment Methodologies and Tools for performing Vulnerability Assessments: A discussion of the various methodologies and tools available to perform vulnerability assessments will be given including RAM-W, VSAT, NRWA, and other recently developed or improved methodologies and tools. Information on how to obtain training in the various methodologies and tools will also be provided.

Discussion of the major elements of the Vulnerability Assessment process: All vulnerability assessments typically follow a similar process with key components such as planning, threat assessment, facility characterization, system effectiveness, consequence/mitigation, and risk analysis. This presentation will cover each of these key steps in performing a vulnerability assessment and discuss the need to follow a process that will insure successful compliance with federal regulations for completing a vulnerability assessment of your wastewater system.

Case History of recent Wastewater System Security Vulnerability Assessments: Lessons learned from a couple of wastewater vulnerability assessments conducted prior to any actual federal legislation for wastewater systems will be presented. These wastewater vulnerability assessments were performed for both large and small utilities that have both water and wastewater systems. One of the utilities performed their vulnerability assessment prior to the Bio-Terrorism Act of 2002, while the others performed their VAs in response to that Act.

Emergency Operations/Response Planning: A discussion will be provided on emergency response planning and the need to update existing emergency response plans to include results of the wastewater vulnerability assessment. It will also cover coordination with Local Emergency Planning Committees and the need for training and exercises of the updated emergency response plan. This discussion will also be tied into the new federal legislative requirements.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 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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