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Water Quality Division > Programs > Public Water Supply > Water System Security

Introduction Templates
Report Deadlines Status

Introduction

The Bioterrorism Act passed by Congress in response to the events of September 11, 2001 requires that certain public water supply systems must perform vulnerability assessments on their water system and update emergency response plans to address vulnerabilities identified in their water system. In Oklahoma, many water systems already have emergency response plans in effect but may need to update them to address vulnerabilities that may be discovered. Some small systems may not have an existing emergency response plan.

Report Deadlines

Vulnerability Assessments

The Act mandates that water systems complete vulnerability assessments and submit them to EPA by the following dates:

  • Large Systems (100,000+ population) — March 31, 2003
  • Medium Systems (50,000 to 99,999 population) — December 31, 2003
  • Small Systems (3,301 to 49,999 population) — June 30, 2004

Emergency Response Plans

It also mandates that water systems make updates to their emergency response plans within six months after their vulnerability assessments have been submitted to EPA. Water systems must also submit a certification to EPA that the plans have been updated no later than the following dates:

  • Large Systems (100,000+ population) — September 30, 2003
  • Medium Systems (50,000 to 99,999 population) — June 30, 2004
  • Small Systems (3,301 to 49,999 population) — December 31, 2004

Status

Congress provided funding to large systems to perform vulnerability assessments and update emergency response plans. Six large water plants serving over 100,000 population applied to EPA for $115,000 grants for Vulnerability Assessments and Emergency Plan updates. All received their grants and are in the process of completing their Vulnerability Assessments and Emergency plan updates.

Six large water plants serving over 100,000 population applied to EPA for $115,000 grants for Vulnerability Assessments and Emergency Plan updates. All received their grants and are in the process of completing their Vulnerability Assessments and Emergency plan updates.

No direct grants are available to small and medium systems at this time. However, EPA has made grants available to the states to assist in this effort. WQD applied to EPA for two grants to update our model emergency plan and put it on the website, distribute a small water system self-assessment document, and to establish an emergency email notification system to water systems in the event of a threat or emergency, provide technical assistance to water systems in the completion of their security vulnerability assessments and updated emergency plans. Those grants have been received and WQD is beginning to implement the technical assistance program to small and medium systems. The funding provide by EPA will support a two year effort to assist these systems meet statutory deadlines for these documents.

Water Quality Division has developed self-assessment templates suitable for Oklahoma water systems and will provide on-site technical assistance to water systems to complete the required documents. Below is a listing of documents that can be used as templates to meet federal requirements in the Bioterrorism Act. They will be provided in a format which should be usable by all versions of the most commonly used word processing programs.

Templates

For those unable to attend the workshops, DEQ has created several documents that may be used as templates. These templates may be used as a starting point for systems to develop their Vulnerability Assessments and Emergency Response Plans.

Title Description Formats
Security Vulnerability Self-Assessment Guide for Small Drinking Water Systems Serving Populations Between 3,300 and 10,000 This document, developed by the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators, the National Rural Water Association, and EPA, will allow small water systems to use their own staff and other resources to produce an acceptable Vulnerability Assessment. It has been modified to apply specifically to Oklahoma water systems.

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Model Emergency Response Plan This document, developed by the Water Quality Division of the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, will provide a template for an Emergency Response Plan for those systems which currently do not have one in effect. Emergency response plans for water systems under 3,300 population are not required by EPA, but are highly recommended to prepare for emergencies both natural and man-made.

[Rich Text Format]

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Security Vulnerability Self-Assessment Guide for Small Water Systems Serving Less Than 3,300

This document, developed by the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators, the National Rural Water Association, and EPA, will allow small water systems to use their own staff and other resources to produce an acceptable Vulnerability Assessment. It has been modified to apply specifically to Oklahoma water systems. Vulnerability assessments for water systems under 3,300 population are not required by EPA, but are highly recommended to identify system weaknesses and prepare for emergencies both natural and man-made.

[Rich Text Format]

[Adobe Acrobat]

If you wish technical assistance in completing these documents, call your Public Water Supply Program District Engineer at (405)702-8100. Technical assistance in completing these documents for small water systems may also be requested from the Oklahoma Rural Water Association.

The Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies also has excellent security vulnerability self-assessment tools available for both wastewater and water that meet EPA requirements. For information about these tools, please visit The Vulnerability Self Assessment Tool™ for Water & Wastewater Utilities.

The National Rural Water Association (NRWA) released its new software, “Security and Emergency Management System” (SEMS). It is designed to assist small utilities securing their drinking water systems. For additional information, please visit NRWA's Security and Vulnerability Assessment Engine.

Currently several other vulnerability self-assessment tools are under development for medium and small water systems. Please continue to check the DEQ WQD website for additional tools or links to sites where they may be obtained.

 

For questions about Water System Security, please contact Mike Harrell or Patty Thompson.


Security Templates

EPA Water Security
(exit DEQ website)