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Security and Emergency Preparedness

The security of our water systems and emergency preparedness continues to be a priority to the Division of Drinking and Ground Waters (DDAGW). A quick and effective response to emergency events is critical for protection of public health and the environment. Tools and resources are provided below to help water systems prepare for, respond to and recover from such events.

For more information and training regarding America's Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) of 2018, please see the Resources tab below.

Reporting an Emergency

Step 1: Contact your local law enforcement office. 

Step 2: Contact your Ohio EPA District Office or the 24-hour emergency hotline.

Step 3. Report the incident to the Water Information Sharing and Analysis Center (WaterISAC).






Ohio WARN (Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network)

Ohio WARN is a statewide Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (WARN) of “utilities helping utilities” to prepare for the next natural or human-caused emergency, organize response according to established requirements and share personnel and other resources statewide, by agreement.

Water Information Sharing and Analysis Center

WaterISAC's mission is to keep drinking water and wastewater utility managers informed about potential risks to the nation's water infrastructure from contamination, terrorism and cyber threats. Go to www.waterisac.org to learn more and to sign up for a free subscription.

Mutual Aid Assistance

Mutual aid assistant networks provide a method whereby water/wastewater utilities that have sustained damages from natural or man-made events could obtain emergency assistance in the form of personnel, equipment, materials and other associated services from other water/wastewater utilities. Formalize an existing agreement or forge a new one with guidance from the following documents:

Coordinating with Local Safety Services

Law Enforcement: Partners in Protection is a brochure encouraging coordination between public water systems and local law enforcement to protect the public’s drinking water supply, law enforcement officials and local drinking water systems must work together to develop protocols for patrolling water systems and reporting and investigating any security breaches.

County Emergency Management Association (EMA): Public water systems are encouraged to contact their county EMA to plan for emergencies involving both parties. More information can be found in this presentation to county EMAs.


Emergency Preparedness Guides

Emergency Preparedness Guides for Public Water Systems


Upcoming Training Opportunities:

Please check back later for new opportunities.


Potential Funding Opportunities
You may be able to obtain funding for new security measures by:

Water Contaminant Information Tool

Water Contaminant Information Tool (WCIT)
WCIT is a secure online database available from U.S. EPA that contains information on contaminants that could pose a significant threat to public health if accidentally or intentionally introduced into drinking water or wastewater. Click here for the fact sheet.

Planning and Responding to Drinking Water Contamination Threats and Incidents

Water Security Handbook
Planning for and Responding to Drinking Water Contamination Threats and Incidents is a handbook prepared by U.S. EPA for water utilities as an overview of its comprehensive Response Protocol Toolbox, from the perspective of a water system manager. The handbook describes how to recognize intentional water contamination threats and incidents, what actions a utility should take in the event of a threat or incident, possible roles of the water utility within the larger Incident Command framework and how the National Incident Management System (NIMS) is organized. This handbook will prove useful when a utility is updating its emergency response plan.

Active and Effective Water Security Programs

Water Security Booklet
U.S. EPA's booklet Active and Effective Water Security Programs takes the 14 features developed by the National Drinking Water Advisory Council's Water Security Working Group (WSWG) and organizes them for security program planning. This 20-page booklet can be ordered for free from EPA's Office of Water Resource Center by telephone: (202) 566-1729. Request document # 817-K-06-001.

Emergency Response Table Top Exercises

Emergency Response Tabletop Exercises
U.S. EPA’s Emergency Response Tabletop Exercises for Water and Wastewater Systems is an online tool to help train water and wastewater utility workers in preparing and carrying out emergency response plans. The exercises provided can help strengthen relationships between a water supplier and their emergency response team (e.g., health officials, laboratories, fire, police, emergency medical services and local, state and federal officials). Users can also adapt the materials for their own needs. The exercises also allow water suppliers to test their Emergency Response Plans before an actual incident occurs. A CD-ROM version is also available by mail free of charge.

Security for Small Systems

Drinking Water Security for Small Systems Serving 3,300 or Fewer Persons is a booklet developed by U.S. EPA's Water Security Division that provides voluntary water security guidance for very small community drinking water systems. Their goal is to help systems understand the basics of water system security. View this brochure online or order a hard copy by calling 1-800-832-7828 or 1-800-490-9198, reference document # EPA 817-R-05-001. Included in the Booklet:

  • Explanation of Vulnerability Assessments (VAs) and Emergency Response Plans (ERPs)
  • User-friendly tools & templates
  • Suggestions for practical security improvements


National Incident Management System (NIMS) provides a consistent nationwide approach for state, local and non-governmental organizations to work effectively and efficiently together to prepare for, respond to and recover from domestic incidents, regardless of cause, size or complexity.

Incident Command System (ICS) is the combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures and communications operating within a common organizational structure, designed to aid in the management of resources during incidents.

Find out more information on NIMS and ICS and implementation compliance goals for local jurisdictions here.



America's Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) of 2018


The Drinking Water Supply Emergency Plan

  • Establishes a framework for Ohio EPA operations in emergency situations involving public water systems
  • Designed to meet federal requirements for state emergency plans
  • Serves as a link between Ohio's Emergency Plan and public water system contingency plans

The Drinking Water Supply Emergency Plan consists of two volumes. Volume I covers Ohio EPA’s role and actions in response to an emergency situation affecting one of Ohio’s public water systems. Volume II covers a community public water system’s requirements for developing a contingency plan, provides guidance on contingency plan development and provides guidance regarding the actions a public water system should take in response to an emergency situation.

Drinking Water Supply Emergency Plan, Volume II: Public Water Systems

  • Cover
  • Table of Contents
  • Main Text  (Introduction, Contingency Planning, Community Water Needs During Emergencies, Communication, Homeland Security and Public Water Systems)
  • Attachment A: Ohio Administrative Code 3745-85-01
  • Attachment B: Contingency Plan Template [Word]
  • Attachment C: Potential Emergency Situations
  • Attachment D: Drinking Water Emergency Loan Fund Fact Sheet
  • Attachment E: Large Water System Emergency Response Plan Outline: Guidance to Assist Community Water Systems in Complying with the Public Health Security and Bio-Terrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002

Hazard Mitigation