EPA's Region 6 Office
Serving: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and 66 Tribal Nations
The Clean Water Act employs a variety of regulatory and non - regulatory tools to reduce direct pollutant discharges into the nation's waterways, finance wastewater treatment facilities, and manage polluted runoff. It also gives EPA the authority to implement pollution control programs and to set wastewater standards for industry and limitations on contaminants in surface waters. The broader goal of the Act is to help restore and maintain the chemical, biological, and physical integrity of the nation's waters.
Improving the security of our nation's wastewater and drinking water infrastructures has become a top priority since the events of 9/11. Significant actions are underway to assess and reduce vulnerabilities to potential terrorist attacks; to plan for and practice response to emergencies and incidents; and to develop new security technologies to detect and monitor contaminants and prevent security breaches.
The Water Environment Federation (WEF) continues to provide innovative programs to assist water and wastewater (water sector) utilities of all sizes meet the challenges of protecting their critical assets from man-made threats and natural disasters. The Water Environment Federation (WEF), through a grant with USEPA, began a series of training sessions for publicly-owned treatment works (POTWs) of all sizes on how to conduct a vulnerability assessment (VA) of their facility and how to update their emergency response plan (ERP).
The General Accounting Office (GAO), an independent and nonpartisan agency of Congress, is conducting a study addressing wastewater security for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The Committee, like many other decision-makers, has expressed concern about the prospect of terrorist attacks against wastewater facilities. GAO is considering using a Web-based panel of experts to provide information regarding (1) ways the Nation's wastewater treatment facilities may be vulnerable to terrorism; (2) how federal funds can best be allocated among potential recipients to reduce vulnerabilities; and (3) what specific activities merit federal support. The government uses the HSPDs to disseminate Presidential and Homeland Security decisions on national security matters. HSPDs 7, 8, 9, and 10 are of particular relevance to water security issues.
EPA Region 6 has developed a video for the Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) operators to show the importance of Vulnerability Assessment (VA) and Emergency Response Plan (ERP). This video emphasizes the VA and ERP are feasible on a small budget and can be conducted by small, medium, and large wastewater treatment plant personnel.
The following Web sites provides resources for water utilities, state and local governments, public health officials, emergency responders and planners, assistance and training providers, environmental professionals, researchers and engineers, and law enforcement :
- Water Security and Water Security Resources
- Water Environment Federation - Water Sector Security
- Evaluation Report: EPA Provided Quality and Timely Information Regarding Wastewater after Hurricane Katrina
For further questions, please contact:
EPA Region 6: EPA Headquarters: Rudy Molina Curt Baranowski Phone: 214-665-2783 Phone: 202-564-0636