Actions to Improve Utility Resilience

With the need for water and wastewater utilities to act quickly to secure their systems, here are some actions to help. Can you take action to do these within a week or two?

  1. Review access control protocols for employees, contractors, and visitors. Accompany all deliveries from start to finish.
  2. Lock doors and hatches, and all items that need to be secured.
  3. Remember that tampering with the water system is a federal offense (as per the Bioterrorism Act PL107-188) punishable by $1,000,000 fine and 20 years in prison. Publicize and utilize this law to support your drinking water system.
  4. Make sure you have a written list of current emergency contacts (including staff info), and call/email each one to test your list and be sure info is up-to-date.
  5. Do you know your critical assets and how to protect them? Inspect all critical assets- inspect them proactively, and on a regular basis. Walk the entire property.
  6. Get your customers involved and tell them what’s in it for them! Communicate how they can help their system be more secure. Let your customers know that if they see something, say something. Encourage them to call if anything seems odd to them and post the number so it’s easy to find. Make sure you have staff to answer the phone. Use your website, your newsletter and your bills to help involve customers.
  7. Hold a meeting with all staff to let them know what to watch for and how to communicate the info back quickly.
  8. Make sure control systems are accessible only to those who need to use them (utilize the  AWWA Cyber Security Tool & Guidance).
  9. Develop an implementation plan to make your system more resilient. Assign staff to specific actions and dates, and follow up to make sure it gets done.

Launch! Consulting can assist and advise with all aspects of your utility preparedness program. We also hold workshops on subjects from handling workplace violence to building a vulnerability assessment and developing an emergency response plan. Contact Linda Warren (434-422-2670 or Linda@Launch-consulting.com) to assist you.

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