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Emergencies and Security: Water Security

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Responsibilities

EPA has been entrusted with safeguarding the nation's drinking water supplies and delivery systems and for responding to biological, chemical and hazardous waste risks posed by natural disasters, terrorist attacks, or unintentional damage to your system's ability to deliver safe drinking water.

EPA Region 8 will support you in planning for potential attacks and will provide time-critical and coordinated responses to any incidents that do occur. We are addressing this through communication networks, training and coordinated exercises, and technical assistance to your system, as appropriate. If you need more information, please refer to the EPA Region 8 Drinking Water Unit Contact List and look for the current "Emergency Response Coordinator".

The Wyoming Office of Homeland Security provides information regarding the various types of emergencies that may beset Wyoming public, businesses, and utilities.

At the system level, you are responsible for developing an emergency response plan (ERP) for responding to these attacks and for implementing the plan should an incident occur. EPA has written guidance for State agencies to assist public water supply systems serving 3,300 or less persons. There are a number of resourcess available on EPA's Emergency Response for Drinking Water and Wastewater Utilities webpage. As a system operator or owner, you may also find this Drinking Water Utility Response Protocol Toolbox guidance useful for assessing your own system.

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Communication

EPA Region 8 Drinking Water Unit will post emergency-specific information at this website in the event of natural disaster or security emergencies that affect or have the potential to affect Wyoming or Region 8 Tribal public water supply systems. Information will also be posted on the Region 8 website when it is needed by the general public, as well as public water system operators.

The State of Wyoming has formed the Wyoming Water and Wastewater Agency Response Network (WYOWARN) under which a single, universal mutual-aid agreement will function. For more information about the Network, provisions of the pending mutual-aid agreement, and the procedures for requesting or offering assistance, please refer to the WYOWARN website, or contact a WYOWARN Statewide Member.

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Training

We are providing training and coordinated exercises to enhance your knowledge of emergency preparedness and to apply it to the situation at your water system. Please check for upcoming training opportunities on our Drinking Water System Operator Training and Certification webpage. We are taking additional steps to secure infrastructure and hazardous materials. In the long term, our efforts will minimize the likelihood of terrorist incidents and pandemics. Our efforts will also better enable us to cope with and recover from natural disasters.

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Emergency Response Plans

Your system's emergency response plan is more than a document. You must

  • Create it
  • Train on it
  • Exercise it
  • Update it

For more information on emergency response plans and table top exercises, go to EPA's website pages for Drinking Water and Wastewater Resilience or contact a technical assistance provider such as the Wyoming Association of Rural Water Systems or the Rocky Mountain Section of the American Water Works Association.

Your plan should address the following information specific to your system.
If your water system experiences: What to do:
Actual, Threatened, or Suspected
Physical Damage or Disruption

or

Contamination from:
  • Vandalism
  • Tampering
  • Intentional malicious act(s)
  • Anything that looks like terrorism
  • Implement your ERP regarding your operation of the water system to protect public health and welfare.
  • Call law enforcement.
  • Know your local police, sheriff and fire department phone numbers. (Develop working relationships with them before disaster strikes).
  • For contamination incidents, call the National Response Center, 1-800-424-8802. They will activate appropriate federal response.
  • Call the EPA Region 8, Drinking Water Unit, 303-312-6327.
  • Coordinate with City, County and State Officials (Law Enforcement, Emergency Response, Public Health, Environmental, Political).
Natural Disasters or
Unintentional Accidents

Causing
  • Damage,
  • Disruption,
  • or Contamination
  • Implement your ERP regarding operation of the water system to protect public health and welfare.
  • For contamination incidents, call the National Response Center, 1-800-424-8802. They will activate appropriate federal response.
  • Call the EPA Region 8, Drinking Water Unit, 303-312-6327.
  • Coordinate with City, County, and State Officials (Law Enforcement, Emergency Response, Public Health, Environmental, Political).

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