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.
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:
- Joint Policy Statement on Mutual Aid & Assistance Networks
- Utilities Helping Utilities, An Action Plan for Mutual Aid & Assistance Networks
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
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
NIMS / ICS
America's Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) of 2018
- America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018: Risk Assessments and Emergency Response Plans (U.S. EPA website): Includes links to trainings, PowerPoint presentations and a fact sheet.
- Drinking Water and Wastewater Resilience (U.S. EPA webpage)
- America's Water Infrastructure Act document
- U.S. EPA Webinar on Risk Assessment and Emergency Response Plan Tools (registration page). Drinking water and wastewater operator may earn up 1 hour of CE credit for attending
- AWWA Training and courses
- Risk and Resilience Assessments and Emergency Response Plans (U.S. EPA fact sheet): Includes helpful information and websites for risk and resilience assessments and emergency response plans
- America's Water Infrastructure Act, Section 2018, Amendments to the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act: A Guide for Community Water Systems and State Drinking Water Primacy Agencies (U.S. EPA June 2019 fact sheet)
- Baseline information on Malevolent Acts
- Division Programs
- Emergency Disinfection of Drinking Water
- U.S. EPA Water Infrastructure Security (training opportunities, small systems assistance, security resources and more)
- Disposal of Contaminated Water (U.S. EPA support guide)
- State of Ohio County EMA Directory (locate your county EMA contact person)
- Ohio Emergency Management Agency
- Ohio Homeland Security
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- CDC Emergency Preparedness & Response
- List of 24 hour Emergency Coliform Processing Laboratories
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
- 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