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Water: Water Security


This glossary will expand in the near future.

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  • Emergency Response Plan (ERP)
    Documented plan that describes the actions that a water system would take in response to various major events. Major event refers to credible threats, indications of terrorism, or acts of terrorism; major disasters or emergencies, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, storms, earthquakes, fires, flood, or explosion regardless of cause; and catastrophic incidents that leave extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, and disruption severely affecting the population, infrastructure, environment, economy, and government functions.

  • First Responders
    Those individuals who respond in the early stages of an incident and who aid in the protection of life, property, evidence, and the environment. This includes personnel in law enforcement, emergency management, public health, clinical care, and other support personnel who provide immediate assistance during prevention, response, and recovery operations in an emergency situation.

  • Risk Assessment Methodology for Water Utilities (RAM-W)
    A methodology for conducting vulnerability assessment programs for drinking water utilities.

  • Small, Medium and Large-sized Water Utilities
    EPA uses data from the Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS) to determine system size. The Bioterrorism Act defines small community water systems as those serving a population of greater then 3,300 but less than 50,000; a medium-sized water system as one serving more than 50,000 people but less than 100,000; and a large system as one serving a population of more than 100,000 people.

  • The Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002
    This Act requires every community water system that serves a population of greater than 3,300 persons to: 1. Conduct a vulnerability assessment 2. Certify and submit a copy of the assessment to the EPA Administrator 3. Prepare or revise an emergency response plan that incorporates the results of the vulnerability assessment and; 4. Certify to the EPA Administrator, within 6 months of completing the vulnerability assessment, that the system has completed or updated their emergency response plan.

  • Vulnerability Assessment
    An assessment to determine the vulnerability of a water system to a terrorist attack or other intentional acts intended to substantially disrupt the ability of the system to provide a safe and reliable supply of drinking water or otherwise present public health concerns. Under the Bioterrorism Act, the assessment should include (but not be limited to) such elements of a system as pipes and constructed conveyances; physical barriers; water collection, pretreatment, treatment, storage and distribution facilities; electronic, computer or other automated systems utilized by the water system; the use, storage, or handling of various chemicals; and the operation and maintenance of such system.

  • Vulnerability Self Assessment Tool (VSAT)
    Wastewater security training software

  • Water Information Sharing and Analysis Center (WaterISAC)
    An information service developed to provide the nation's drinking water and wastewater utility personnel with a secure web-based environment for early warning of potential threats and a source of knowledge about water system security.

  • Water Protection Task Force
    Established in 2001, the Task Force was the predecessor of the Water Security Division. The Task Force supported activities to improve the security of drinking water and wastewater systems.


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