Resources for Security and Emergency Response Planning
Emergency Response Plan Templates
A Public Water System of any size needs to have an Emergency Response Plan (ERP) that is current, with correct information (including contacts). Water systems should regularly "work the plan" — a series of collaborations, discussions, teamwork, and table top exercises that draw on the experience of the participants and the local environment and resources to work through logistical and technical issues before they occur.
>There are numerous guides and templates available.
- For Public Water Systems that serve fewer than 3,300 people, the Drinking Water Program has an Emergency Response Plan template (PDF). Tailored for Maine and the most common types of emergencies that Maine experiences, it is intended to be the resource to use at the time of emergency.
- For smaller Public Water Systems that serve less than 500 people, we have a smaller system template (PDF) that is ideal for mobile home parks, schools, and small businesses.
Security Vulnerability Assessments
A security vulnerability self-assessment guide is designed to help water systems determine and target vulnerable components and identify security measures. It includes all the components of a system, such as access, wellhead or surface water source, treatment, storage, pumps, chemical use, distribution system, and electronic or computer access. It is a proactive approach to looking at the security of an entire system.
A classic self-assessment guide from 2002 by the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA) and National Rural Water Association (NRWA) is still in use and user friendly: Security Vulnerability Self-Assessment Guide for Small Drinking Water Systems (PDF) (EPA).
Pandemic Influenza Planning
Pandemics are unpredictable, have universal susceptibility, spread rapidly, can occur simultaneously across the county and last for weeks. Public Water Systems have to realize that the impact to the water system is critical just on two of these factors alone. High absentee rates and a ripple affect of the shipment of resources and supplies, such as disinfectants and chlorination products are two (of many) considerations. Taking a hard look at your critical customers is another factor, as the time frame of this impact is very unpredictable.
There are dozens of great resources to begin planning for this "emergency" which is in a class of its own due to its unique and unpredictable characteristics. EPA has a helpful array of planning resources for emergency responses. The US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) is the lead agency on tracking Influenza nationwide.
Incident Command System Trainings and NIMS
The Incident Command System (ICS) is a management system designed to offer a flexible response to incidents of any size. The system is designed to accommodate the size and unique characteristics of any emergency incident. If your water system experiences an emergency that involves other groups such as a fire department and/or law enforcement agency, the responders may set up an incident command system to manage the emergency response. You should know and understand how an ICS operates. For more on ICS, contact your County Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).
The National Incident Management System (FEMA) provides a systematic, proactive approach to guide departments and agencies at all levels of government, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to work seamlessly to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the effects of incidents, regardless of cause, size, location, or complexity, in order to reduce the loss of life and property and harm to the environment.
The Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has the most current information on Incident Command System and trainings as well as NIMS.
Source Protection Efforts
The most cost-effective way to develop and maintain safe and secure drinking water starts with the location of the well or surface source so that it is protected from potential contamination. It continues with identification and management of the land area that provides water to the source. Land uses that support high-quality water include well-managed forests, low intensity recreation, and sustainable agriculture. If the land around the source is developed residentially or commercially, active management of these activities is needed to maintain clean, safe drinking water. All these activities: source selection, identification of contributing area, control of land use decisions, and management of existing land use, combine to provide safe and secure drinking water. Information on how to do this is available through the Source Water Collaborative. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has numerous resources on their website for Source Water Protection efforts. Another source of information is the National Rural Water Association.
The Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1986 established requirements for states to develop Wellhead Protection Programs (EPA). A Wellhead Protection Program is a pollution prevention and management program used to protect underground sources of drinking water. These programs were intended by Congress to be a key part of a national ground-water protection strategy to prevent contamination of ground-waters that are used as public drinking water supplies. The Maine DWP offers grants for planning or implementing projects that protect their groundwater and/or surface water sources. More information can be found on the Financial Resources page of this website.
The Source Water Protection page of this website provides guidance, resources, and information for protecting drinking water sources and preventing contamination
By carefully maintaining an inventory of system assets and keeping them on a proactive maintenance and replacement schedule, emergency breakdowns can be minimized. System owners and operators can assure themselves of long-term performance and better controlled costs. Avoiding emergency shutdowns from equipment failure is a great return on investment. There are plenty of tools to assist you doing asset management that range from simple to complex, inexpensive to budget breakers. Understanding the variety of management tools available will help you choose what is best for now.
- CUPSS (Check Up for Small Systems) (EPA): A simple, comprehensive approach to implementing an asset management program and developing effective asset management plans for water and wastewater systems.
- Asset Management: A Best Practice Guide: A brief on what asset management is and its benefits and best practices. This guide is intended for owners, managers, and operators of water systems, local officials, technical assistance providers, and state personnel.
- Small Systems Management Assistance (Capacity Development) (EPA): Guidelines and easy-to-follow instructions for key management measures, including asset management, strategic planning and financial planning. These tools also provide information on how you can involve your customers and local officials in these efforts.
- Drinking Water Program Emergency Response
- Emergency Contact Numbers
- Public Water System Security Response Protocols
- Top Ten Security Measures
- US EPA Water Infrastructure Security
- Cybersecurity Tools to Understand, Evaluate, and Mitigate Risks (PDF)
- Drought Contingency Guidance for Public Water Systems (PDF)
- EPA Hurricane Preparedness for Water Systems: