Entries for the 'Security' Category


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.     


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. 


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

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
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