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Chapter I Introduction Our nation has learned that it is not invulnerable to global or domestic terrorism, and recent events have heightened concern regarding the vulnerabilities of critical infrastructures, including the public water systems, to deliberate attack. The consequences of an attack on water systems could be substantial, and even a small-scale attack could lead to widespread panic and a loss of confidence in the water system. Efforts are underway at many water and wastewater utilities to reduce the vulnerabilities of the nation's water systems and develop appropriate levels of preparedness to respond to future attacks. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) holds lead responsibility for protecting the nation's water systems (Office of Homeland Security, 2002) and is currently working with other federal, state, and local government agencies, water and wastewater utilities, and professional associations to improve water security. To support its water security responsibilities, the EPA in a joint activity of the Water Protection Task Force and the National Homeland Security Research Center recently developed the Water Security Research and Technical Support Action Plan (Action Plan) (EPA, 2003a). The Action Plan identifies security issues for drinking water and wastewater, which make up the major sections of the document (Sections 3.1-3.6, 4.0, and 5.0~. The Action Plan also outlines research and technical support needs within these issues' and presents a prioritized list of projects to address these needs (See boxes 3-1 to 3-8 for listings of the needs and projects identified in the Action Plan). The research and technical support projects identified in the Action Plan are intended to provide products that wild be timely, functional, and responsive to water security needs. The document presents a schedule for implementing the identified projects and will be used to determine EPA funding priorities for water security research and technical support efforts over the next three years. A subsequent draft the Water Security Research and Technical Support Implementation Plan (Implementation Plan) (EPA, 2003b) provides additional descriptions of the projects identified in the Action Plan, and it presents minor revisions to the scheduling of the projects. 61
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62 A Review of the EPA Water Security Action Plan GENESIS OF THIS STUDY AND CHARGE TO THE PANEL The EPA approached the National Academies in the fall of 2002 seeking expert scientific advice on its homeland security efforts. Subsequently, the Academies' National Research Council (NRC) undertook a study that would assess the EPA's efforts to advance the state of knowledge related to threat detection, mitigation, and decontamination and to develop information and technologies for use in preventing and mitigating the effects of chemical and biological attacks. To carry out this study, the NRC has appointed two expert panels, focusing on the topics of water system security and building decontamination. The NRC panels will provide consultations to the EPA on a continuing basis on specific aspects of the program as requested and produce several short reports. This report summarizes the findings of the Panel on Water System Security Research, which is overseen by the NRC's Water Science and Technology Board. The pane] was asked to review the EPA Action Plan, and this report summarizes the conclusions of the 2. second phase of this review, focusing specifically on the panel's Statement of Task questions #2 and #3, listed in bold below: Has the Action Plan completely and accurately identified important issues and needs in the water security arena? If not, what issues and needs should be added or removed? Are the needs appropriately sequenced within the issues? If not, what adjustments are warranted and why? Are the projects recommended for funding in the Action Plan appropriate to meet the water security needs? Are the projects correctly prioritized and sequenced? Is the timing of the projects, as identified in the Action Plan appendix, realistic? If not, what adjustments are warranted and why? Overall, what changes to the Action Plan are recommended to improve its presentation in terms of content and structure so as to more clearly convey the water security research and technical support program that is described? The panel's first report (see Part I) addressed task questions #1 and #4, providing an overarching review of the Action Plan and the research and technical support needs. Several additional water security needs were identified, and modifications or changes in emphasis were suggested. Part I recommended increased attention to interagency coordination and encouraged reconsideration of current restrictions on secure information dissemination. It further suggested that EPA incorporate the results of their research activities into integrated water security guidance for water and wastewater utilities. The report also highlighted some of the unique characteristics of small utilities that the EPA should consider when planning its water security effort. This second short report provides a more detailed review of the projects identified in the Action Plan and their prioritization and scheduling. Chapter 2 provides genera] organizing principles for prioritizing activities in the area of water security. Chapter 3 contains a focused review of the specific projects identified in the Action Plan, and it suggests modifications and ~ The National Academies consists of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council is the advisory arm ofthe National Academies.
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Introduction 63 additional projects to strengthen the water security research and technical support program.