Drinking Water Security Information and Resources

The Bioterrorism Act requires community drinking water systems serving more than 3,300 persons to determine its vulnerabilities from a terrorist attack or other intentional acts and to defend against adversarial actions that might cause a system to lose the ability to provide a safe and reliable supply of drinking water. The requirements of the Act assign the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and water utilities responsibilities to enhance water sector security and to develop response measures for potential threats to the nation's water supplies and systems, as outlined below.

Requirements for Community Drinking Water Systems

The Bioterrorism Act requires every community water system serving more than 3,300 persons to

  • Conduct a vulnerability assessment.
  • Certify and submit a copy of the vulnerability assessment to the EPA Administrator.
  • Prepare or revise an Emergency Response Plan, or ERP, based on the results of the vulnerability assessment.
  • Certify to the EPA Administrator, within six months of completing the assessment, that an emergency response plan has been completed or updated.

EPA Drinking Water Security Home

Vulnerability Assessments, Emergency/Incident Plans, security enhancements, research and technology, legislation and directives, water security resources. More...

Vulnerability Assessments Tools

Vulnerability assessments help water utilities to evaluate their susceptibility to potential threats and identify corrective actions to reduce or mitigate the risk of serious consequences from vandalism, insider sabotage, or terrorist attack. More...

EPA Emergency Response Plan Guidelines for systems serving 3,301-99,999 population

Information about developing or revising ERPs for small and medium-sized community drinking water systems. More...

DNR Public Water System Model Emergency Operation Plan

The Model Emergency Operation Plan is a tool for all public drinking water systems to help them develop a more comprehensive local Emergency Plan.  The various Sections provide “fill-in-the-blanks” checklists of what to do before, during and after emergencies.  The Appendices, which are not included on this website, give information about governmental agencies and names and phone numbers of companies that supply chemicals, equipment, and other services.  The Model EOP is also available in a 3-ring binder with CD free of charge to Community Water Systems and may be ordered from the Public Drinking Water Branch at 573-751-5331

Comprehensive Emergency Contact List of Various Agencies

Response Protocol Toolbox – Response Guidelines

An action oriented document to assist drinking water utilities, laboratories, emergency responders, state drinking water programs, technical assistance providers, and public health and law enforcement officials during the management of an ongoing contamination threat or incident. The Response Guidelines are not intended to replace the Response Protocol Toolbox and they do not contain the detailed information contained within the six complete modules. The Response Guidelines are to be viewed as the application of the same principles contained in the Response Protocol Toolbox during an actual incident. The Response Guidelines have been developed to provide an easy to use document for field and crisis conditions. Finally, users are encouraged to adapt the Response Guidelines as necessary to meet their own needs and objectives. More...

Response Protocol Toolbox

Response Protocol Toolbox

Interim Final Response Protocol Toolbox: Planning for and Responding to Contamination Threats to Drinking Water Systems - These modules provide tools that are designed to help the water sector to effectively and appropriately respond to intentional contamination threats and incidents. EPA produced the Toolbox, building on the experience and expertise of several drinking water utilities, particularly the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Organized in modular format, the Toolbox will be of value to drinking water utilities, laboratories, emergency responders, state drinking water programs, technical assistance providers and public health and law enforcement officials. Users are encouraged to review the overview before using other Modules. Please note that the Toolbox contains guidance that may be adopted voluntarily. The modules are also available in MS Word for those wishing to use the forms and text.

Tools and Technical Assistance

Additional Resources to Plan for and Respond to Drinking Water Threats and Incidents - This is an excerpt of the EPA's Water Security Handbook .

Information Sharing - National Drinking Water Advisory Council’s Water Security Working Group, Water Information Sharing and Analysis Center, or WaterISAC, Water Security Channel, EPA Environmental Laboratory Compendium

The exchange of information between water utilities and public and private sector organizations is vital to the safety of the nation's water supply. EPA promotes information sharing between the water sector and such groups as environmental professionals and scientists, law enforcement and public health agencies, the intelligence community, and technical assistance providers. Through such exchange, water systems can obtain up-to-date information on current technologies in water security, accurately assess their vulnerabilities to terrorist acts, and work cooperatively with public health officials, first responders, and law enforcement officials to respond effectively in the event of an emergency.

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