The U.S. EPA has a new Risk Resilience Assessment (RRA) and Emergency Response Plan (ERP) compliance deadline coming for water systems across America. These key plans are set to come due in 2020 and 2021 with varying deadlines as per the size of the utility’s service areas. This article will give you tips to be ready for the EPA deadlines.
In June 2002, the Bioterrorism Act of 2002 required drinking water utilities which served more than 3,300 people to conduct an assessment to determine if they are susceptible to terrorist attacks on their system. This population size represents a community such as Waverly, NE (a suburb of Lincoln, NE).
A vulnerability assessment was also required for wastewater and combined utilities to determine where the utilities vulnerabilities are for both man-made and natural hazards. Under the Bioterrorism Act, the EPA developed tools and methods to:
The America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (AWIA) became law on October 23, 2018 as section 1433 of the Safe Drinking Water Act was amended in Section 2013 of the AWIA. In this section, the law specifies the topics that the risk and resilience assessment and emergency response plan must cover and give deadlines for certificates of completion to the EPA.
Again, the requirement for compliance is for utilities serving more than 3,300 persons that are served directly or indirectly by the system. Therefore, if a smaller community is a wholesaler to another population by a consecutive system, then all people served by those systems count as users.
The Risk and Resilience Assessment must address the funding and operational needs and an evaluation for the following:
No later than six months after the submitting the completed certification of the RRA, the Emergency Response Plan must be submitted. This plan must include the following:
The utility should seek to coordinate with local emergency planning and communities when they are conducting the assessments. In addition, the EPA requires that the documents be keep for five years after certifying the plan.
The EPA is still working on providing baseline information on the malevolent acts of relevance to community water systems, technical assistance fact sheets, and a new version of the Vulnerability Self-Assessment Tool (VSAT) and Emergency Response Guide. However, they did provide a Route to Resilience 2018 e-tool, All-Hazards Boot Camp Training, and a resource page on Creating Resilient Water Utilities (CRWU).