EPA provides instructions for conducting 'vulnerability assessments'

EPA announced progress toward protecting America's drinking water by providing a set of instructions that will help drinking water utilities submit security self-assessments to EPA in a secure manner.

Feb. 3, 2003 -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday announced progress toward protecting America's drinking water by providing a set of instructions that will help drinking water utilities submit security self-assessments to EPA in a secure manner.

"Drinking water utilities are already submitting Vulnerability Assessments to EPA, marking a significant milestone in our efforts to protect our Nation's drinking water supplies," said G. Tracy Mehan, III, EPA's Assistant Administrator for Water. "These instructions to utilities and our secure information handling procedures demonstrate EPA's resolve to protect this vital information prepared by water utilities," said Mehan.

The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 requires EPA to work with water utilities to protect vital infrastructure and public health. Under the Bioterrorism Act, all community drinking water systems that serve more than 3,300 people are required to certify and submit vulnerability assessments and certify completion of emergency response plans to EPA.

The deadline to certify and submit vulnerability assessments to EPA is March 31, 2003 for drinking water systems serving 100,000 or more people; Dec. 31, 2003 for systems serving 50,000-99,999 people; and June 30, 2004 for systems serving 3,301-49,999 people.

Once a drinking water system certifies completion of its vulnerability assessment to EPA, it is required, within six months, to certify completion of its emergency response plan. The instructions explain how the drinking water system is to submit the required documents to EPA.

For further information, log on to http://www.epa.gov/safewater/security .


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