Document Examines Legal, Policy Issues for Water Security

A group of water industry associations has teamed with legal experts to produce a new publication, “Protecting the Water Sector from Security Threats.

A group of water industry associations has teamed with legal experts to produce a new publication, “Protecting the Water Sector from Security Threats.” The document provides an overview of the legal and policy framework that governs key aspects of security at drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities in the United States.

Developed as an update of NACWA’s 2002 publication, “Protecting Water Infrastructure Assets... Legal Issues in a Time of Crisis Checklist”, the new publication expands on, revises and updates the issues covered in the original document in response to legal, technical, and policy changes since the events of September 11, 2001.

Participating organizations included the Water Environment Federation (WEF), National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the American Public Works Association (APWA), and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA). The organizations worked with the law firm of Dewey & LeBoeuf, and its Senior Counsel, Robert M. (Andy) Andersen, who teaches environmental security as an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University.

Intended for water and wastewater utility executives, managers, and operators, the publication covers the most common legal considerations when implementing a security and emergency response program in utilities and public works facilities.

“The legal aspects of water security are constantly evolving and WEF and our partner organizations hope water and wastewater utility executives, managers, and operators will find this publication helpful as they continue to provide clean and safe water to the nation under increasingly challenging circumstances,” said WEF Executive Director Bill Bertera.

Each organization provided two water sector utility representatives and a staff representative to guide the work of the LeBouef law firm to draft the publication. Key aspects covered in the publication include the duty of utilities to the public and employees regarding preparing for and responding to terrorist and man–made disasters; considerations for employee background checks; and properly balancing the public’s right to know with keeping certain vital information confidential.

Provided at no–charge to WEF members and water sector utilities, WEF members can download the document from the WEF Web site: www.wef.org. Water sector utilities may request a hard copy by contacting svaughn@wef.org. For non–members and non water sector utility representatives, the document can be purchased in WEF’s online Marketplace at www.wef.org/Marketplace.

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