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September 26, 2010
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Security & Safety News

New WSCC Chair Elected

William L. Komianos

On Oct. 18, William L. Komianos of American Water was elected chairman of the Water Sector Coordinating Council (WSCC) at its fall meeting in Lafayette, La. Komianos will replace outgoing Chairman Don Broussard of Lafayette Utilities System. Komianos is currently the senior director of operational risk management for American Water, and has more than 30 years experience in environmental health and safety, security ,and holds one of the two WSCC seats assigned to the National Association of Water Companies (NAWC).

In September 2004, pursuant to Homeland Security Presidential Directive 7, the WSCC was formed by eight of the preeminent water and wastewater organizations to serve as a policy, strategy and coordination mechanism and recommend actions to reduce and eliminate significant homeland security vulnerabilities to the water sector through interactions with the federal government and other critical infrastructures.

Most recently, Komianos served as WSCC vice chairman, and has served as co-chairman of the Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council Metrics Workgroup and the Water Sector Strategic Planning Working Group. He also serves as the chairman of the NAWC Security and Safety Committee.


EPA Releases New Software Tools

The Environmental Protection Agency provides tools and technical assistance to the water sector and other organizations to help ensure the continued security of our nation's drinking water and wastewater systems. One of these, the Vulnerability Self Assessment Tool (VSAT), is a risk-assessment software tool for water, wastewater and combined utilities of all sizes. The tool assists drinking water and wastewater owners and operators in performing security-threat and- natural-hazards risk assessments, as well as updating utility emergency response plans. EPA, in collaboration with Water Sector partners, has updated VSAT to be consistent with the 2007 Risk Analysis and Management for Critical Asset Protection framework. The upgraded tool includes a new user interface, an enhanced natural-disaster threat-assessment process, and a revised risk-assessment approach.

Water Health and Economic Analysis Tool (WHEAT) - The EPA, in collaboration with drinking water and wastewater (water) sector partners, has also developed the Water Health and Economic Analysis Tool (WHEAT), which is designed to assist drinking-water utility owners and operators in quantifying the public health impacts, utility financial costs, and regional economic impacts of an adverse event, based on a variety of asset-threat combinations that pose a risk to the water sector. Existing WHEAT modules currently analyze two event scenarios—the release of a hazardous gas and the loss of operating assets in a drinking water distribution system—and provide information that can be used as part of a comprehensive risk assessment. Future WHEAT modules will analyze drinking water contamination and wastewater system hazardous gas-releases and loss-of-operating-assets scenarios.

Other available resources assist water utilities in performing risk assessments, and in developing effective emergency response plans. The resources can help water utilities and public health and safety personnel to develop and apply appropriate antiterrorism measures, and to respond effectively in the event of an incident.


WSCC and DHS to Hold Cybersecurity Workshop

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Control Systems Security Program and the Water Sector Coordinating Council are pleased to announce the Dec. 6, 2010, Control Systems Cybersecurity Workshop for the Water Sector.

The training will be hosted by the Orange County Public Utilities Division at the Orange County Emergency Operations Center, which is approximately 12.5 miles from the Orlando International Airport.

This training is provided specifically for water sector personnel associated with cybersecurity, policies, operations, and protective measures related to control and information technology systems. This includes operators, engineers, IT personnel, supervisors, and managers. While the curriculum is designed for water sector personnel, attendees from other critical infrastructure and key resource sectors are welcome to attend.

The urgent need to mitigate risks and threats to Industrial Control Systems (ICS) has led the water sector to collaborate with DHS on an integrated security strategy, as detailed in the Roadmap to Secure Control Systems in the Water Sector, released in March 2008.

This workshop has been designed to improve the knowledge, skills and abilities of the attendee in order to identify, defend against, and reduce the risk from cyber attack. This one-day event will include:

  • A briefing on the Roadmap to Secure Control Systems in the Water Sector:
    • Reviewing its goals and milestones.
    • Providing information on roles and responsibilities.
    • Identifying relationship models for IT and ICS organizations.
  • Introduction to Control Systems Cybersecurity:
    • Cybersecurity Landscape; Understanding the Risks
    • Industrial Control Systems Applications
    • Current State of Cybersecurity in Industrial Control Systems
    • Practical Applications of Cybersecurity
  • An overview of available products and tools and a demonstration of the Cyber Security Evaluation Tool (CSET).

Please click here to register for this training. There is no fee to attend this course. Class size is limited so be sure to register early to guarantee a seat.


EPA and DOE Release New Contaminant-detection Software

New water-quality software from the EPA and the DOE is designed to enhance a water system’s ability to detect intentional or unintentional contamination by a wide variety of chemical and biological contaminants, including pesticides, metals and pathogens. CANARY software helps to distinguish between natural variation in water quality measurements and hazardous contamination, and sends an alarm to indicate when water utilities should investigate and respond to potential contamination.

The EPA and DOE’s intentions are that utilities will use CANARY to enhance day-to-day water quality management and ensure the safety and security of water for all consumers. More on CANARY can be found here.


EPA Sponsors Train-the-Trainer Workshops

The EPA recently published an updated tabletop exercise tool for the water sector. The Tabletop Exercise Tool for Water Systems: Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Climate Resiliency (TTX Tool) contains 15 scenarios that reflect an all-hazards approach to emergency preparedness and response, and introduce users to the potential impacts of climate change on the water sector.

The tool is designed to provide the water sector with the necessary resources to plan, conduct and evaluate tabletop exercises.

To help the sector to learn how to use the TTX Tool, EPA is sponsoring free “Train-the-Trainer” workshops in several locations around the country. These workshops provide training on how to use the tool, create exercise materials and facilitate an exercise.

Two half-day workshops are being offered at the EPA's Chicago office, located at 77 W. Jackson Blvd., on Nov. 9, 2010.

Please click here for a fact sheet with more information about the new TTX Tool, and visit the website to register for a Train-the-Trainer workshop. If you have any questions about the new TTX Tool or the training, please contact Tom Noble.