Entries for the 'Security' Category

11

Hazard resilience and emergency planning were front-and-center at the U.S. EPA Drinking Water Workshop last month. Stories of drought, bacterial contamination, and power outages highlighted the struggles of effective emergency planning. Fortunately, there is a suite of resources available for utilities—and small water suppliers particularly—to help you prepare for the unknown and plan for the rare events. 

This is the first of a three-part series with guides and tips to help you build a comprehensive emergency response plan. The free templates provided here will help you get started. 

Emergency Response Planning Template for Public Drinking Water Systems

This 20-page document developed by the Rural Community Assistance Partnership is intended for use by any water system serving a population of 3,300 or fewer and can be modified to fit specific system needs. The template is intended to be used as a starting point based on what is relevant for the type, size, and complexity of the system. 

Rural & Small Water and Wastewater System Emergency Response Plan Template

This 48-page template is designed to be a guide for Emergency Response Planning. Emergency Response planning should be a coordinated and planned process. Proper planning can lessen the impact of an emergency. All staff should be trained as to their responsibility within the plan and how it will be implemented. This template was designed to address various emergency hazards that may occur in rural and small systems. It incorporates emergencies that may be the result of terrorism. Regardless of the type of emergency whether natural or man-made each system has the responsibility to be prepared to protect the public health and to restore services that may be impacted. 

Disaster-Specific Preparedness/Response Plan for Public Drinking Water Systems - XYZ Water System Template

This 25-page template has been developed to help you prepare your Emergency Response Plan. The ERP Guide (see separate document, here) and Template is intended for use by any water system and may be modified to fit the specific needs of each system. The ERP guide follows the outline in the template—section by section 

Emergency Response Plan Template

This 26-page form is an outline of an emergency response plan for water operators to fill out and complete. This document is  in pdf form, but the fillable Word format of this document can be found here

Emergency Response Plan of Action 

This 40-page template is used to create an emergency response plan for a public water system. There are many situations that may cause impairment of water quality or disruption of service. In Maine, the most common is loss of water pressure or contamination of the water supply, source, or lines. Some common examples include main breaks, power outage, treatment failure, numerous types of contamination, extreme weather and or structural damage, floods, and equipment failure. This template goes over each topic to create the most efficient ERP. 

If you don't see something that fits your system's needs, search "emergency response plan templates" in our documents database to find more resources.     

18

The struggle to provide safe drinking water in the face of the Gold King Mine spill is reminding many utilities and operators of the importance of knowing what to do if water service is disrupted. But creating a strong emergency plan is often easier said than done—and the middle of an emergency is the worst time to discover you’ve forgotten something.

Hosting a water emergency roundtable discussion is a great way to boost plans for service disruptions and help others in your community do the same. These events also provide a unique opportunity to connect water security with broader preparedness and community resiliency efforts underway in your region.

Here’s a quick glance at what you can do to host a successful discussion:

  1. Consult with partners within your water community to identify the groups that need to be at the table. Some groups to consider include hospitals, schools, farm operations, industrial parks, municipal pools, and first responders.
  2. Set a date and secure a meeting place that meets your meeting needs.
  3. Work with partners or co-hosts to ensure that the room has the equipment needed, such as a laptop, PowerPoint projector, and pens and pads for meeting participants.
  4. Have your water utility manager or superintendent call the groups to invite them to the event. A personal call typically results in a more positive response and can be followed by a formal invite and RSVP request.
  5. Call confirmed participants to outline what types of information participants will need to bring with them, how the discussion will be facilitated, and how sensitive information will be treated.
  6. Confirm with partners or co-hosts who will be responsible for facilitating the discussion, compiling participant data, putting together registration packets, welcoming participants, presenting, taking notes, and writing a meeting summary.
  7. Arrive at least on hour before the event is scheduled to set up materials and manage last minute details.
  8. Use meeting notes and discussed action items to develop a short report for participants.
  9. Write and distribute an internal and external report on progress towards action items approximately six months after the event.
  10. Determine the need for a follow-up meeting.

For more tips and sample invitation scripts, read the Water Emergency Roundtable—Outline for Discussion developed by the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators and EPA Region 5. 

14

Emergencies in the water industry happen every day. Your system may be able handle small events, but are you ready for the big one?

Do you have security procedures in place? Could you quickly handle unexpected hazards? Do you know where to find technical and financial resources to recover? WaterISAC can be one answer to many of these questions.

WaterISAC is a community of water sector professionals who share a common purpose: to protect public health and the environment. It serves as a clearinghouse to provide America's drinking water and wastewater systems with a source of information about water system security and with a secure Web-based environment for early warning of potential threats. Relying on information gathered from federal intelligence, law enforcement, public health, and environmental agencies, and from utility security incident reports, WaterISAC analysts produce and disseminate physical and cyber security information to the water sector.

How WaterISAC works:
WaterISAC analysts collect and review infrastructure protection information from government and private sources to share with members. Analysts tap into classified intelligence and open source information 24 hours a day to track security incidents across the world. Members are alerted increased risk of contamination, terrorism, or cyber threats so they can take quick action to reduce or prevent damage or injuries.

WaterISAC allows its members to be updated with news affecting water and wastewater operations through a regularly published e-newsletter prepared by a team of security experts. A threat notification is sent immediately in cases of imminent threats. Through confidential incident reporting, members can participate in protecting our critical infrastructure by confidentially reporting security breaches and suspicious activity.

WaterISAC offers two level of memberships, the WaterISAC PRO and WaterISAC Basic. A free 3-month PRO membership trial is offered to new members and the annual dues scale is sliding, based on population served. (For example, membership for most small drinking water systems would be $249 each year.) For more information about WaterISAC membership, you can visit their website.

For more water security resources, search our document database under the Water Security/Emergency Response category.

Posted in: Security
19

This video highlights the importance of developing a culture of security around your water or wastewater utility. While the case study presented serves a large community, EPA's "10 key features" approach can be applied to any size of system.

Posted in: Security, Videos
15

Ohio RCAP has been helping communities with mapping projects for several years. They've now formed a "GIS Cooperative" to share best practices as well as a new web application that the organization has developed.

The RCAP GIS Viewer is a custom interface that allows utilities to perform common data manipulations without being a GIS expert. The application helps the small system work with and have control over their data, supplementing the existing training and services provided by Ohio RCAP field staff. 

This approach allows the organization to serve even more communities in Ohio by providing an industry-customized, yet entry-level GIS solution. Utility personnel can quickly access and export key data in routine and emergency situations.

This brief video (below) introduces the Viewer. A longer walk-through can be found here

If you're new to GIS (i.e. Geographic Information Systems) and their role in water system management, you might also check out this slide presentation from Ohio RCAPFor questions, including Ohio communities interested in participating in the Cooperative, please contact Sherry Loos (smloos@wsos.org, 330-628-4286)

07

By Sandra Fallon, Training Specialist, National Environmental Services Center

If a natural disaster or other incident strikes your town, local water and wastewater utilities must rely on their own resources immediately following the crisis. It can take 72 hours or longer for assistance to arrive from the state or federal government after a state of emergency is declared. Because first responders, local businesses, community and health services, and the public continue to rely on water services during and after an emergency, and because water service disruptions can make recovery efforts even more difficult, it’s prudent to plan ahead so that assistance is in place for rapid, effective response and recovery.

Public and private water and wastewater utilities, both large and small, can now participate in the Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (WARN), a utilities-helping-utilities program that uses mutual aid and assistance agreements, which are established and signed prior to an emergency, to help affected utilities quickly obtain resources such as personnel, equipment, materials, and related services from utility signatories to the WARN agreement. In an emergency, WARN support kicks in when local resources are overwhelmed or unable to provide what's needed. WARN can be activated by any impacted signatory utility in response to an emergency, and aid can arrive quickly, saving critical response time. "Simply put, WARN helps ensure continuity of operations" says Kevin Morley, manager of the Security and Preparedness Program with the American Water Works Association (AWWA). "If a system is impaired or impacted, WARN provides an option to recover as fast as possible."

Now is the time to encourage your local water and wastewater systems to join WARN, before disaster strikes.  WARN programs are underway in almost all 50 states, and those without a WARN are working on it.  You can find your state WARN contact information on the National Warn Web site at www.NationalWARN.org.

Partnerships, Planning, and Mutual Aid
The network is formed through partnerships among public and private water and wastewater utilities and key representatives from professional associations, state water and wastewater regulatory and emergency management agencies, and the regional Environmental Protection Agency. This collaboration helps facilitate pre-disaster planning and training, and encourages sharing information and lessons learned from other disasters. Ongoing communication among WARN leaders and members is essential to keep the network up-to-date and ready to handle an emergency.

The heart of WARN is the mutual aid and assistance agreement, which addresses members' responsibilities, procedures and protocols for providing aid, legal and liability concerns, and issues related to crossing jurisdictional boundaries to provide emergency aid. These agreements are designed to meet National Incident Management System (NIMS) and federal requirements for homeland security grants, and such agreements must be in place prior to an incident for federal disaster assistance reimbursement. According to Morley, all communities are required to become NIMS compliant (http://www.fema.gov/national-incident-management-system), and becoming a WARN signatory helps a community achieve this goal.

WARN members in each state use the same pre-established mutual aid and assistance agreement developed by that state's initial WARN leadership team. This agreement takes into account state laws and regulations, establishes a cost recovery process for utilities, and addresses expectations for reimbursement. The agreement also addresses how workers’ compensation, insurance, or damaged equipment on loan will be handled. The WARN agreements address hazards ranging from small incidents like power outages and major line breaks to large, catastrophic disasters, and facilitate assistance from across state lines if necessary.

Benefits of Joining WARN
WARN offers a practical and affordable approach with multiple benefits for the utility and community. "WARN functions like a no-cost insurance policy," says Morley. There is no cost to join the network, and in an emergency each utility decides whether it can respond on a case-by-case basis; there is no obligation. The utility may incur some planning and coordination costs such as staff time to attend meetings, conducting legal reviews, or communication efforts. Overall, the costs are small and well worth the benefits.

AWWA conducted a survey to determine the economic benefits of WARN and found that WARN participation improves a utility's ability to respond to emergencies and reduces their costs to respond. Cost savings include reduced costs to purchase and maintain back-up power capabilities, such as portable generators, and to borrow rather than purchase and store other emergency supplies and equipment. Utilities also indicate reduced loss of water and wastewater revenues due to expedited recovery of services. WARN membership can be a positive factor in risk assessments for insurance purposes, resulting in reduced insurance costs.

Encourage Local Utilities to Join WARN
No community or utility is immune to disaster, and past experience suggests that outside help can be a long time coming. WARN helps the water and wastewater sector become more self-reliant and offers rapid, specialized assistance for emergency response and recovery. Securing this help requires a utility to join its WARN program before disaster occurs. Trying to figure out who can help when your treatment plant is flooded is not good business. According to AWWA's Morley, "WARN participation should be a key part of every utility's business continuity and risk management plans. The costs are small and the benefits to the utility and the community it serves are large." By making sure that your local utilities join your state WARN, you'll be taking a positive step to protect your community, its water services, and the water utility's ability to return to normal operations as soon as possible.

This article is part of the Water We Drink series, developed by the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) and the National Environmental Services Center (NESC).

31
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has released a new document, the Drinking Water Advisory Communication Toolbox.  This 162 page document was a collaborative effort among 6 organizations that all work in the drinking water and environmental health fields.
 
What Is It?
The Toolbox provides protocols for communicating with stakeholders and the public about water advisories and has practical information on how to plan for, develop, implement, and evaluate drinking water advisories.
 
How is this document different?
It is to date, the most far reaching effort to help prepare and assist drinking water systems in dealing with drinking water advisories to their customers that we have seen. The document recognizes the degrees of severity where advisories might be needed, from a drop in pressure,to a hurricane, and everything in between. It has practical solutions that affect the types of tools, planning, and communication needed for specific situations.
 
More importantly, it was developed by consensus among a tremendous number of stakeholders, industry folks, water systems, and technical assistance providers.  The list of acknowledgements is over 3 pages long and includes over 50 water systems.  They really did their research, compiling over 500 documents related to advisories, and conducting over 100 interviews.
 
What does that mean for me?
It means it will be a useful tool that you can use when you need to prepare a drinking water advisory. It also means the document is well thought out, organized, practical, and useful.  
 
That's a lot to read!
We agree, the problem is that it is 162 pages long.  We hope to help with that aspect by breaking the toolbox down in subsequent blog posts and highlighting the things we feel are most relevant for small systems.  Stay tuned for more, but if you get the chance, take a look.  You can find the report here.   
25
I was at AWWA's Annual Conference June 12-16 and attended several of the small systems sessions.  As has been the case over the last few years, one of the prominent topics revolving around capacity development is the potential shortage of operators.
 
We All Have To Get Involved
It's not enough to take care of your system and just go about your business.  All of us, operators, TA providers, vendors, educators, and state/federal authorities, need to get involved in promoting jobs in water/waste water.  Most of us know of an operator who is over 70, who's community/system has no idea what they are going to do when that person moves on/retires.
 
What You Can Do
There are a number of things you can do.  One is to contact your state's operator schools and offer to host an intern.  Many of the operator training programs are desperate for on-the job opportunities for their students.  Talk to your state folks and TA providers and find out what intern opportunities might be available in your state and offer to help. 
 
It's Time To Open Up Your Plant
After 9/11 many plants closed their doors to schools, youth groups, and other civic organizations.  I understand the worry and the need to take safety seriously, but its time to start plant tours again.  It was one of the best ways to inform the public, and more importantly, the next generation of potential operators, about the need, benefit, and importance of water and waste water treatment.  If we want an informed public, we have to let them in and show them what we do.  We have to publicize ourselves, toot our own horns, be proud of what we do, and look ahead to what our systems are going to do when its our turn to pass the responsibility down to the next generation.
 
How To Run Your System Like A Business is a series at SmallWaterSupply.org, appearing on Mondays
18
In June, we announced the kick-off of our internship pilot program. Over the next several months, we'll be documenting the progress, challenges and lessons learned in this experience.
 
Two Communities So Far
We have found two communities, so far, that we will be working with this summer. They will be utilizing our intern to assist them in developing tools and information that they can use to help run their systems more effectively. Each community is in a different place, and has unique issues they want help with. 
 
Our idea, when we started this program, was to find a few communities interested in developing ERP's, asset management plans, and long range plans, and have our intern, who is a Class C water and Class D wastewater operator in Illinois, provide some of the man power necessary to develop the inventories, look up information, etc. 
 
Every System Is Unique
Boy is this an understatement. Neither community fit the model we envisioned for this project. Community A, for lack a better name, is actually in really good shape. Their operator and village president are on the same page, they have an idea of where they want to go, they have an ERP (with help from ILRWA), and they have a little money in the bank. It's a community of only 800 people, and they are doing a great job managing their system. They actually contacted us, after seeing the article in our newsletter, and asked for specific help with asset management.
 
The best way to describe the situation in Community A is they are doing well and are being proactive and moving further forward. They are in a classic situation where succession planning needs to be a part of the picture - with the village president and operator on the verge of retiring in 5 years or less. They have the CUPSS software from USEPA and were a little intimidated with trying to work with it, so Nate's main job for them is going to be to get CUPSS set up for them. We are also using the new "AM Kan Work" manual from NMEFC, and plan to have Nate develop both sets of tools for each of the communities that ask for our help.
 
Community #2
This community was suggested to us by Illinois RCAP, and we are grateful for their help and support.  Community #2 is a community that is starting from scratch. We haven't talked to them yet, our first meeting is tomorrow, but the information we do have suggests that it is a community that has had significant problems in the past, and are now stepping up with new managment and village officers to try and get a handle on their water and wastewater systems. They first need an evaluation of where their systems stand, so Nate will be conducting a Vulnerability Assessment for them. Based on those results we will move forward. Illinois RCAP is also assisting this community, and will be advising Nate as we work with the community. 
 
Working Out Better Than We Had Hoped
The goal of the program is to expose Nate to a variety of community situations that will better prepare him for managing his own system, while providing a measureable benefit to each of the communities that participates. We are already seeing that Nate's exposure to even these two communities, is going to go along way in preparing him for his first head operator position. And for the communities, we are developing plans with Nate that will really help them move forward and meet their needs.
 
Note #1: We are still looking for 1-2 communities of under 1000 people within an hour of St Louis, that would be interested in participating in this program.
 
How To Run Your System Like A Business is a series at SmallWaterSupply.org, appearing on Mondays
06
Problems With Public Notification
Recently, I attended the Wyoming Association of Rural Water Systems (WARWS) Spring Conference and I heard a talk that was really interesting and new to me.  Every system has public notification requirements and the requirements for reporting to your customers can sometimes seem a little outdated in todays technology filled world.  In Wyoming, there are areas where there is no local television station, so there is no one to provide a report to.  In those areas, many people have satellite television with no local news or info.  Also, sending press releases to newspapers can be ineffective, especially today when fewer and fewer homes take the paper anymore.  In a time crucial emergency, such as a boil order, operators are left with putting out hang tags or contacting every customer individually.  This can be expensive, time consuming, and worst of all, hang tags can be ineffective, should they be thrown away without being read or blow off in the wind.
 
Where Things Are Headed
This was all brought up during a talk by a company that sells public notification services, Swiftreach Networks.  Never heard of these services? Neither had I, or at least I didn’t realize what it was.  What these services do is provide you with a way to contact every customer electronically through cell phone, home phone, email, SMS text, and even twitter and facebook.  These systems are very robust and surprisingly affordable, but what they really offer is a way to be sure that your customers receive your message.  The way they explained it, the system allows you, the operator, to set up a message tailored to your needs, and when you use the system, it sends that message out to every one of your customers.  The system keeps track of who answers, who listens to the whole message, and provides detailed reporting of the status of whether each customer was reached.  It can even require that the customer press “1” to acknowledge that they received the message.  Regardless of availability of other media, having a record of who was contacted is a great feature for your peace of mind.
 
Why They Are Better
The really special thing about these sorts of applications is that they can be shared by all of your community personnel and emergency responders.  The examples they gave were many, from informing a community to stop drinking their water because of a train derailment and spill, to reminding your community to set out your recycling, to having elderly folks in home environments press 1 to confirm that they are ok each night.  Here at the University of Illinois, they have implemented a similar system for staff and students. It came about because of some of the campus shootings that have occurred across the country, but it is also used to provide timely non-emergency information to the campus community.  It can be used to inform about road closings, upcoming meetings, just about anything you can think of that would be relevant to your customers and community. 
 
Roxbury Example
Swiftreach Networks gave me a great example of how their system was used to support a community water supply.  Roxbury Water Company had an isolated E. Coli outbreak that only affected a small number of homes, but the news media picked up the story and incorrectly identified the outbreak as system wide.  It caused an immediate scare in the community and the city personnel were faced with how to deal with notifying all of their customers with the correct information.  In addition, they started getting calls from scared customers that were flooding their system.  Using their Swift911 system, the community was able to send out telephone notifications correctly describing the situation right away, which allowed them to reach everyone quickly and also saved their staff tons of time on the phone with concerned customers.  What’s unique about these systems is that your customers can provide multiple phone numbers, numbers for text messaging, and email addresses, so that they are more likely to receive your message.
 
Our Disclaimer
Swiftreach Networks is one of several companies that provide these types of services.  We at SmallWaterSupply.org don’t endorse any individual company, and we recommend you do your own research to find out which system might best serve your needs.  That said, we greatly appreciate the time Swiftreach Networks gave us to learn more about how these systems work and their track record with small systems is impressive.  Whether you contact them or another company, these services are remarkable and its worth your time to find out how a system like this might benefit your community.
 
 
17
A few weeks ago, we mentioned in our newsletter that the FTC's "Red Flags Rule" applies to most water utilities. We promised to follow up with some more details.
 
The regulation was created in 2007 to require financial institutions, utilities, and other creditors to set up programs aimed at preventing identity theft. ("Red flags" refer to the warning signs of identity theft.) The original deadline was in 2008 and then was extended to December 31, 2010. So technically, you should already be in compliance.

What the Rule Requires
The requirements are actually fairly simple. If you’re covered by the Rule, you must have a written program (i.e. a less than ten page document) in place that:
  1. Identifies the kinds of red flags that are relevant to your business;
  2. Explains your process for detecting them;
  3. Describes how you’ll respond to red flags to prevent and mitigate identity theft; and
  4. Spells out how you’ll keep your program current.
Does it apply to you? - Red Flag Program Clarification Act of 2010
At the end of last year, President Obama signed a new law that revised how the Red Flags Rule is implemented. Unfortunately, this 'clarification' only muddied the waters for small utilities. Here are two articles outlining the details:
The bottom line is that most everyone agrees its best to stay the course and have your program in place, especially since it's not a huge burden and generally a good idea.
 
Help with Compliance
There are many examples and forms to assist with creating your program. NRWA estimates that most utilities can put something together in an hour, so it's not a big effort. Here are some documents from within the industry designed to help you get it together.
Does that make sense? If you have a question, ask us in the comments for this post.
Posted in: Consumers, Security
25
Continuing with some of the information I learned at the Non-Transient, Non-Community Recertification Workshop in Illinois a few weeks ago, one of the things that really stuck with me was, "Always ask why". You really need to know how it works and what the consequences are of any task you perform with your system.
 
Operators Are An Independent Bunch
By the nature of their jobs and responsibilities, operators are independent and are used to solving problems by themselves or in non-traditional ways.  They do what they need to, to keep things running and do so typically with limited resources.  Sometimes though, that personality can also lead to situations where they "learn the hard way", or "learn by experience".  The problem with doing that when running a water system is that learning the hard way can affect your customers, cause health problems, or put you at a safety risk.
 
There's Also Murphy's Law To Deal With
Wayne (the instructor) asked the attendees to think about when problems generally occur with their systems.   Is it on a Monday morning when everyone is at work ready to go, or is it on a holiday, or the day after you've left for vacation and left the system in the hands of your young, new operator-in-training?  Everyone nodded, understanding his point, and everyone could think to a situation where some problem had occurred at a really bad time.  Which is exactly why you and your staff always need to ask why.
 
Knowledge Is King
It's not enough to know the basic tasks involved with running your water system, "Bob said to add a gallon to the tank after every backwash cycle and I wouldn't have to worry about anything else."  You need to know why you are adding that chemical, what it does, what will happen if you don't, and what will happen if you spill it.  Everyone who might be assisting you needs to understand your system as well as you do, so that if something goes wrong, or a valve sticks, or a pump fails, or the line gets pinched, it won't become a major event that risks the health of your customers or the safety of you and your staff.  Taking shortcuts leads to losing your understanding of both the system and why the guidelines are there in the first place.
 
Protect Yourself
Most safety hazards can be managed with training and by following safety guidelines on proper handling, use, storage, maintenance, and disposal.  Most accidents occur when these things aren't followed.  If you can't follow the proper procedures because of the cost, have a TA provider come to your board meeting to explain what the costs might be should a preventable accident actually occur (can you say lawsuit?).  Wayne told a really sad story about an operator that was installing pipe and didn't use a trench box for just the last section of pipe.  It cost him his life.  It was a totally avoidable accident caused by being in a hurry.
 
Some Safety Guidelines Are Overkill
There are reasons for all of the safety measures you are expected to follow as an operator.  Some might seem ridiculous, but the reality is that they are there for a reason, and many times someone before you learned the hard way that its not so ridiculous after all.  After hearing the things that Wayne has seen over the last 30 or so years, the operators who have died or been seriously hurt in avoidable accidents, I would recommend following every safety precaution and guideline that was provided for me.  No guidelines are overkill.
 
10
At the NTNC Recertification class I attended last week, Wayne Nelson (IRWA) spent a good deal of time talking about workplace safety and disinfectants. Chlorine gas is an important issue because it's still the most widely used disinfectant (at least in Illinois) What really hit home were the real life examples of what not to do that seem pretty simple, but don't always get done when you are short handed, don't have enough resources, or just aren't using your common sense.  All of the information below comes from the class and Wayne was nice enough to let me use some of his material here.
 
About Chlorine Gas
When used properly, chlorine gas is no more dangerous than other types of disinfectants (sodium hypochlorite-liquid, Calcium chlorite-powder, Potassium permanganate).  In fact, all disinfectants are dangerous if you don't understand how they interact/react with other common chemicals.  Chlorine gas:
  • 2.5 times heavier than air
  • expands 460 times from liquid to gas
  • causes irritation, anxiety, loss of senses, and possible death
  • is rarely a killer
  • injuries occur because of failure to leave area, most of the time
What You Should Know
Here is some practical information that you should know about chlorine gas, it's storage, and use.
  • the fusible plug on chlorine gas tanks melts at between 158-170 degrees
  • if tank can't be opened with a 6-inch wrench, send it back, shouldn't be hard to open
  • you should only open the valve 1/4 turn
  • your water or wastewater plant should have a plan in place for dealing with a chlorine leak (probably more about this in a future post)
  • when changing tanks, should have 2 people involved
  • have appropriate safety equipment available
  • maintain a safe temperature in your chlorine room - too warm can melt plug, too cold can freeze lines and cause leaks
What Not To Do
Wayne went over a bunch of examples of systems that weren't prepared for a leak or weren't managing their chlorine correctly.  Here are some things not to do, or that you should be aware of.
  • Never try to shut off a chlorine valve without a SCOT-pack or hazmat suit, you cannot just hold your breath (a lot of injuries have occurred this way)
  • don't store your SCOT-packs in the chlorine room, this is something Wayne has seen a number of times
  • never spray water to dispel a gas plume
  • don't open the valve 100%, makes it much more difficult to shut off
  • don't try to fix it yourself, follow a plan, get help, be safe
  • don't assume you know how to use the safety equipment, get trained
  • don't be afraid to ask questions, many times someone shows you what to do, but not why its important.  You need to know why, so you will know how to deal with problems. 
25
The NRWA and its State Affiliates are holding a webinar on Tuesday February 2nd to present an overview of the new security legislation that has been passed by the US House of Representatives.
 
The webinar is entitled, " Potential Water Sector Security Regulations and Gaseous Chlorine."  It will be from 12:30 to 1:00pm eastern time.  If you are a State Rural Water Association member, and have an email address, you should receive an email about this, probably today.  Just follow the link at the bottom to register.
 
Reasons To Join In
1. They will be going over new requirements for water supplies: new vulnerability assessments, emergency response plans, site security plans, and site risk assessment information.
 
2.  You will have a chance to ask questions at the end, if there are things you don't understand or need more clarification.
 
3.  It's a chance to learn how to sign up and be a part of a webinar.  Many of us have never participated in something like a webinar, and its easy to say its more trouble than its worth.  But, you'll find that its really not that tough to set up, you just need to register, and then when the time comes you just have to log in.  If you would like some help, let us know, we can help walk you through it.
 
General Information
The procedure is really simple.  You click on the link at the bottom of the email, it takes you to an NRWA webpage that asks you to register (name, email, state, phone).  When you click on "register", you will get a confirmation email with instructions for joining the webinar.  The webinar itself will be viewed as a webpage.  For the audio portion of the broadcast, and you can either use speakers/headphones plugged into your computer or you can call in and listen over the phone.
 
This is why you belong to your state association, so you can keep informed.  They are looking out for your interests and have the staff and where-with-all to keep up on important issues in DC.
 
But I Don't Have Email
Do you have internet access?  If so, getting an email account is really easy.  Sites like Google, Yahoo, and MSN all provide ways to set up email accounts.  We suggest using Google's gmail, because it provides you access to so many other things (Google Documemts, You Tube, Google Calendar (that can be sync'd to your Outlook Calendar)). 
 
If you would like, we will even set up an account for you, or walk you through the steps to create one, while on the phone.  It won't help you for the webinar next week, but it will give you access to a lot of new information.
 
Email Alerts
NRWA, as well as some state affiliates, have a weekly or monthly email newsletter with current events, state news, and information on important issues.  Other TA providers, like WEF, AWWA, NESC, and RCAP, and even state and federal agencies, have email sign ups that will automatically send you an email when there is new information available.  Its a good way to keep up with things.  Even if you don't use it regularly, email opens the door for more communication, between operators and their state association, operators and their state regulators, or even between operators.  Email laters are certainly worth checking out.  If, for whatever reason, you don't like them, you can ignore them or have them stopped.