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Water Security Information

AMWA Publishes Emergency Response Case Study

Multi-agency Response to a Major Water Pipe Break: A Massachusetts Case Study and Evaluation is an important new security resource for the nation’s water utilities – an in-depth look at the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) response to a major pipe break in May 2010 involving more than two million people and thousands of large industrial users in 30 metropolitan Boston communities. The comprehensive review, co-sponsored by the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, WaterISAC and the Water Research Foundation, and funded through a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, presents a solid example of the drinking water emergency response process and analyzes the challenges, successes and lessons related to the process.
 
On May 1, 2010, a 10-foot-diameter coupling broke loose near Shaft 5A of the MetroWest Water Supply Tunnel, a primary component of the MWRA system, releasing millions of gallons of water. Despite the magnitude of the situation, the utility was able to repair the broken pipe and restore full flow in less than two days. The case study evaluates activities including: recognizing status changes and activating the plan; staff mobilization; external communications; response and recovery actions; addressing health and safety issues; preserving stored water and identifying alternative water sources; performing emergency repairs; returning the system to normal levels; and evaluating the response and plan.
 
The report, produced by Stratus Consulting, incorporates assessment and analysis of the actions of MWRA and other state and local responders involved in the incident. It identifies areas where the responders acted successfully as well as areas where they encountered challenges, and provides valuable recommendations based on lessons learned.
 

AMWA Publishes Analysis Of VA Tools And Industry Risk Standard

AMWA and the Water Research Foundation recently published a report on the differences among the latest versions of three vulnerability assessment (VA) software tools and the ASME-ITI/AWWA J100 risk analysis standard. Because the differences are of consequence to water and wastewater utilities planning to update vulnerability assessments, researchers and subject matter experts examined how the products differ and the effort that may be required to meet the standard using any one of the tools.
 
The three VA tools examined in the report are VSAT (updated in 2010 by U.S. EPA as VSAT 5); the Security and Environmental Management System (SEMS) for smaller utilities; and ARAM-W, an automated version of RAM-W, which is a work-in-progress by the Department of Homeland Security and could be completed in 2012. The publication of the ASME-ITI/AWWA J100-10 Standard for Risk and Resilience Management of Water and Wastewater System coincided with the release of VSAT 5 in 2010.
 
All water systems serving at least 3,300 people were required to prepare vulnerability assessments under the 2002 Bioterrorism Act. Many utilities intend to update those assessments. While Congress has passed no new VA mandates for water or wastewater systems since then, the House and Senate have debated legislation to change that over the last few years.
 
A detailed review of the tools and the standard found that the tools met at most 68 percent of the features of the J100 Standard. None of the tools calculate resilience – the largest discrepancy with the J100 standard.

 

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