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Chapter 3 Review of Projects Identified in the Action Plan The Water Security Research and Technical Support Action Plan (Action Plan) identifies a lengthy and substantive list of research and technical support projects that, if completed, would support an(l advance water-security-related prevention, mitigation, response, and recovery activities. The subsequent draft Water Security Research and Technical Support Implementation Plan (Implementation Plan) (EPA, 2003b) provides additional information on near-term projects related to drinking water and the Action Plan's implementation. Consistent with a recommendation in the panel's first report (see Part I), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently working in cooperation with the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERE) and other stakeholders to more carefully consider wastewater security needs, holding a stakeholder meeting in August 2003. Because this activity is anticipated to lead to many revisions in the wastewater section of the Action Plan, this report focuses primarily on the projects to support drinking-water security needs, with some evaluation of wastewater projects currently underway and suggestions on an overall strategy for addressing wastewater . . . priorities. In the panel's first report (see Part I) the general drinking water and wastewater security needs were evaluated. This chapter presents an evaluation of the research and technical support projects identified in the Action Plan to support those water security needs. The water security needs and supporting projects from the Action Plan are included, for reference, in boxes throughout the chapter (Boxes 3-1 to 3-84. Although the needs (in bold) were not prioritized in the Action Plan and were merely sequenced in a logical order, the projects listed under each water security need were arranged in priority order. Despite the many revisions and several additional needs suggested by the pane} in its first report, for simplicity and ease of comparison with the first report, this chapter is organized according to the numbering scheme originally presented in the Action Plan. Changes suggested in Part I are noted where relevant. As stated in Chapter 2, the basic organizing principles of the EPA water security research and technical support agenda should emphasize a continuing increase in the effectiveness and efficiency of our response ant! recovery capacity while identifying cost- 67

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68 A Review of the EPA Water Security Action Plan effective countermeasures based on an understanding of the nature and likelihood of potential threats. The projects presented in the Action Plan are reviewed in that context within this chapter. The Action Plan presents a total of 123 projects, and, except where noted in the discussions below, the projects are appropriate for the high intensity, short time-frame effort envisioned by the EPA. Consistent with the recommendations in Chapter 2, many of the projects emphasize technical support and focus on short-term, data mining efforts. To streamline this review, the panel focused its comments on specific aspects of project content, scope, prioritization, timing, and sequencing for certain projects only. Projects that were considered appropriate are not discussed at length; thus, the amount of discussion on individual projects should not be viewed as a reflection of the panel's priorities. DRINKING WATER The research and technical support projects for preventing, preparing for, and responding to physical, cyber, and contaminant attacks on drinking water supply systems are categorized in the Action Plan in six major sections: (1) protecting physical and cyber infrastructure, (2) identifying drinking water contaminants, (3) improving analytical methodologies and monitoring systems for drinking water, (4) containing, treating, decontaminating, and disposing of contaminated water and materials, (5) planning for contingencies and addressing infrastructure interdependencies, anti (6) targeting impacts on human health and informing the public about risks. The projects are discussed in detail below, and a chart highlighting suggested revisions to the time lines (including additional recommended projects) is provided in Appendix A. Protecting Physical and Cyber Infrastructure (Action Plan Section 3.1) The projects described within this need involve identifying physical threats to water systems, understanding the consequences of physical attacks on those systems, and identifying countermeasures to such attacks. These are core activities that establish the character and level of threat, and collect and disseminate information for cognizant officials at water utilities. Project Evaluation The suite of projects described appears to adequately address the needs identified in the original Action Plan (see Box 3-1), although some suggestions are provided to improve the projects. In addition to these, a new 'need' was suggested in the panel's first report (see Part I) that involved assessing costs and benefits of various countermeasures, including immediate ancillary benefits, and communicating the value of water and increased water securities to the public. Several projects should be developed to address this new need, for which suggestions are outlined below. 3.1.a Identification and Prioritization of Physical Threats. The projects concerning an updated identification and prioritization of threats are clearly important, and the Action Plan recognizes this in the timing of these projects. The project to identify likely physical and cyber threat scenarios (project 3.1.a.1) based on input from threat analysts and the intelligence community is already underway. This project should also recognize dissemination of malicious disinformation as a potential vulnerability, as recommended in the panel's first report (see Part I). The project to examine lessons

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Review of Projects Identified in the Action Plan 69 learned by utilities in assessing their vulnerabilities (project 3.1.a.2) is also already underway through the American Water Works Association Research Foundation (AwwaRF), even though its outcomes may be of greater value farther in the future than at present. Developing lessons learned takes time; outcomes have to be evaluated before they become lessons, and organizations may be reluctant to share negative outcomes. The project should also include lessons learned from other infrastructure sectors (e.g., electric power utilities, the chemical industry). Two projects are proposed to evaluate and refine the vulnerability assessment (VA) methodologies for drinking water utilities (projects 3.1.a.3 and 3.1.a.4~. The evaluation of the basic VA methodology (e.g., Risk Assessment Methodology for Water or RAM- W) is generic to all utility applications and clearly valuable. Nevertheless, these projects appear of lower importance than projects 3.1.a.1 or 3.1.a.2 because projects 3.1.a.3 and 3.1.a.4 focus primarily on refining existing methodologies rather than on the overall need of identifying physical anti cyber threats. If financial resources are limited, they could be postponed. Refinement of the vulnerability assessment process should already be part of a good comprehensive planning process. In any event, it would make sense to perform the 3.1.a.4 project toward the end of the Action Plan life span so that information resulting from other projects can be incorporated into this analysis. Project 3.1.a.4 may not need to start as early as is currently scheduled, and it may require less time than the proposed 16-month time line. _ . . _ . 3.1.b Understanding and Documentation of the Consequences of Physical or Cyber Attacks. The emphasis under this need! for "thorough understanding and documentation of consequences of physical or cyber attacks" seems to be on cascading consequences in infrastructure networks, not on traditional distribution system models, although the nature of the proposed models was not described in the draft Implementation Plan. While such cascading effects are critical to network performance, it must be remembered that utilities deal with outages and natural hazards in the normal course of their business, including cascading effects. Operators understand the behavior of their own distribution networks, and most large utilities already use simulation models of their distribution networks. As a result, project 3.1.b.1 should not be given as high a priority as the 3. Ma projects. Overall, the projects should be refined so that their contributions to current understanding are clearer, and these projects should take advantage of consequence assessments prepared for other infrastructure sectors. 3.1.c Countermeasures to Prevent or Mitigate the Effects of Physical and Cyber Attacks. The 3. l.c projects concerning "a suite of countermeasures," which largely have to do with technical information collection and dissemination, are all important ant! reasonable to meet the identified need and should proceed as described. All water utilities will benefit from this information, but small and midsized utilities will particularly appreciate the findings from these projects, especially if the projects lead to guidelines for prevention and mitigation. The project to prepare voluntary design standards (~3.1.c.1) refers to pulling together recommendations for construction, hardening, and other aspects of utility security operations, so that facility designs can benefit from security experiences of the past. This project should emphasize the development of a "best practices" manual. Three years appears to be too long for the effort described. The project to develop standards for minimum security protection of Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems (~3.1.c.2) should be informed by parallel

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70 A Review of the EPA Water Security Action Plan work in other industries such as chemicals and energy and by federal initiatives such as the National Institute for Standards and Technology s (NIST) Common Criteria, which includes a SCADA system security standard. Additional Research and Technical Support Needs In the pane] s first report (see Part I), a fourth need was added to section 3.1, for which appropriate projects should be developed. This fourth need statement reads: Assessment of costs and benefits (direct and inclirect) associated with various countermeasures; and development of a program to assist implementing · . - , · . · - . . - . - . - ~ · · . - · .. .. . . - organlzatlons (lncludlng water utllltles) in communicating with the pUDllC, customers, rate regulators, and local elected and appointed officials regarding the value of water, increased water systems security, and increased rate structures to create the necessary financial resources to implement such countermeasures. Costs and benefits can only be meaningfully evaluated in the context of specific threat scenarios; thus, this project will need to be closely integrated with projects 3.1.a.1 and 3.2.a.2. Cost and benefit information will help utility managers, customers, and elected and appointed officials assess the value of specific countermeasures (e.g., hardening facilities or contaminant detection technologies) and recognize the need to finance appropriate security measures, including effective response and recovery programs. Financing will be crucial if actions are to be implemented by water utilities to improve their systems security. Water utility resources are aIreacly under severe financial restraint, particularly small systems, which have limited financial resources. Typical projects responsive to this fourth need are: Assessment of costs and benefits associated with various security countermeasures, including dual-use benefits. This should include the EPA taking a public position on the value of improved water system security. 2. Research on various rate structures that utilities are using or might be able to use, to finance the costs associated with improved water system security. 3. Development of a manual or other communication vehicle that water utilities can use to assist in increasing the awareness of the public, customers, rate regulators, ant! elected and appointed officials regarding the value of water, increased water security, and the increased rate structure necessary to create the financial resources for implementing improved water security measures. These projects should be given high priority and initiated soon, since it will take time to put in place rate structures that will generate required financial resources. Projects #2 and #3 should be initiated immediately, and project #1 should be conducted concurrently with projects 3. l.c. 1-4, which will identify countermeasures for drinking-water protection. Summary The projects identified to support the protection of physical and cyber infrastructure are appropriate to address the needs identified in the Action Plan, but some revisions are suggested. Overall, the projects identified to support consequence analysis (3.1.b) need additional refinement to clarify their contribution to the current state of knowledge and project 3. l.b. 1 should follow the higher priority projects such as 3. l.a. Refinement of the vulnerability assessment methodologies (~3.1.a.4) should be compressed and postponed until the end of the Action Plan life span so that information resulting from other projects can be incorporated in this analysis. Additional projects were proposed in support of a

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Review of Projects Identified in the Action Plan 71 fourth need to assess the costs and benefits of countermeasures. 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72 A Review of the EPA Water Security Action Plan Contaminant Identification (Section 3.2) As the scope of available pathogens and hazardous chemicals expands, so should our assessment of the threats and consequences they pose to water security. Knowledge of critical contaminant properties, such as toxicity, environmental fate, and methods for mitigation, will be needed to respond effectively to attacks on the country's water supplies. The projects identified in the Action Plan are intended to address this need. Project Evaluation Overall, the projects that are proposed to identify the contaminants of concern and the relevant threat scenarios (see Box 3-2) are appropriate to meet the needs outlined in the Action Plan. The concerns discussed below relate to the project approach and the time and resources available to complete some of the projects. Suggestions are offered to streamline certain projects. 3.2.a Development of a List of Contaminants and Threat Scenarios. The project to develop and prioritize contaminant threat scenarios (3.2.a.2) will contribute valuable information to several other projects in the Action Plan (e.g., developing sampling strategies, 3.3.c; evaluating treatment processes, 3.4.c) and therefore merits early scheduling. In developing the list of threat scenarios, it is recommended that, where possible, the threat scenarios be designed to handle categories of contaminants, rather than designed for individual contaminants. This should streamline development of the list and should simplify the development of responses to the threat scenarios. The development of the list should take into consideration the point of entry to the system (e.g., reservoir, treatment plant, distribution system, or welIhead) as well as the amount of material that would be needed for the different types of contaminants to pose a threat. The list of priority contaminants that may pose a threat to water utilities (project 3.2.a.1) should be linked to a well-defined set of relevant criteria (e.g., treatability, solubility, human toxicity), which would be stored in the database mentioned below (need 3.2.b). The development of this set of criteria is not a trivial effort. These data could be used to group or prioritize the individual contaminants as users of the list deem appropriate, although this prioritization process will be complex (see Part I for further discussion of prioritization). Developing this set of criteria and establishing an initial prioritization scheme based on these criteria will be essential components of project 3.2.a.1. The project related to developing an improved understanding of the role of biologically produced toxins as drinking water contaminants (project 3.2.a.3) is deserving of a substantial effort because this is an area in which a great deal is unknown. 3.2.b Development of a Database on the Critical Contaminants. In developing the contaminant database (project 3.2.b.1), the EPA should initially focus on the minimum amount of information that would be needed to guide response activities. Essential information necessary for determining an appropriate response may vary according to the contaminant or contaminant group (e.g., treatability via chlorination is important information to have for types of microorganisms). Grouping the contaminants by type, where feasible, is suggested (1) to simplify the database, (2) to reduce the number of data gaps to be filled, and (3) to provide a means for including data on a larger number of relevant contaminants. Nevertheless, the benefits of grouping the contaminants may ultimately depend on the number of contaminants to be included in the database, and grouping would lead to greater uncertainty about the characteristics of agents within the contaminant groups.

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Review of Projects Identified in the Action Plan 73 As the database is developed and additional contaminant properties are considered for inclusion in the database, it will be important to keep in mind how the end users of the information will ultimately use the data. Building a comprehensive contaminant database for the sake of completeness will not be a wise use of resources. For simplicity, this project should be merged with project 3.4.c.S, which develops a treatment technology database for contaminants in drinking water. Critical information for the database should be sought first from existing sources, including peer-reviewed and non-peer reviewed literature and even best professional judgment where no data exist. Useful resources may include recent publications from the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine (CHPPM, 2003a,b). In designing research projects to fill the most important information gaps (project 3.2.b.3), efforts should be made to coordinate with on-going research projects, such as those being conducted for contaminants on the Candidate Contaminant List. The time frame (approximately 18 months) and resources identified for this project appear to be insufficient to achieve its stated goal. Millions of dollars have been spent in dozens of research laboratories on characterizing contaminants during the last several years; it is unrealistic to expect that all of the identified gaps can be filled in with the available resources within the specified time frame. The draft implementation plan recognizes that this effort will need to be directed toward the most critical information gaps and projects that will be most likely to yield results. The EPA will also need to coordinate their efforts with other agencies currently funding research on specific contaminants to address this research need. The lower prioritization of project 3.2.b.4, which calls for a survey of background concentrations of priority contaminants in source or treated waters, seems appropriate. Considering the limited time and resources, this "survey" is assumed to represent a literature search rather than the collection of new water quality data. Analysis of existing data is most likely to shed light on only the well-known environmental contaminants (e.g., pesticides, some pharmaceuticals). It is unlikely that a substantial number of priority contaminants will have been measured with the necessary frequency, sensitivity, and accuracy to permit a meaningful assessment of background levels. The EPA should not invest in more exhaustive data collection at this time because adequate characterization of background concentrations for a broad suite of contaminants would require enormous resources (INFORM, Inc., 1995~. With anticipated future advances in sampling devices and a better understanding of contaminant threat scenarios, a project to sample background concentrations of priority contaminants could be developed later. This would represent a long-term research goal that would need to be coordinated with related contaminant monitoring projects in sections 3.3 and 3.4. 3.2.c Development of a Surrogate/Simulant Database. The terminology used here merits additional explanation in the Action Plan, because the terms "simulant" and "surrogate" may have different meanings in various fields. "Simulant" is commonly used to describe non-pathogenic or non-toxic agents that can be used in experiments to study the behavior of similar agents (NRC, 2003b, Layne et al, 2001), and it is assumed that "surrogate" is used similarly here. Nevertheless, the term "surrogate" may add confusion, because the term is also used to describe alternate measures of risk or occurrence in actual samples in lieu of the target chemical or species (NRC, 1996~. The language used in the Action Plan ("a comprehensive database... on surrogates or simulates for priority contaminants" project 3.2.c.l) suggests an activity which is likely beyond the means of the program given its time frame and other priorities, and thus

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74 A Review of the EPA Water Security Action Plan would not be a wise use of resources. Simulants may have limited applicability because there can be significant inherent variability in the response of seemingly similar agents. However, some field research might benefit from the use of a comparable non-pathogenic organism to assess the possible response of a pathogenic organism (e.g., use of Bacillus cereals spores vs. those from Bacillus anthracis). One end product should be a set of guidelines or an operational handbook describing how simulants should be used, including selection of the simulant, handling, analysis and data interpretation. 3.2.d Means for Maintaining and Transmitting Information on the Above. The EPA has proposed a number of communication mechanisms for water security (EPA, 2003c), and work is ongoing to refine its information sharing strategy. The EPA should consider additional methods to improve the accessibility of its databases. For a large database, this may include developing several interface windows, which are appropriately designed for different types of end users. Large utilities may be able to dedicate staff to become trained in using the proposed databases, but it will not be feasible for many of the mid-sized and smaller utilities to do so. Therefore, it may be more efficient to have designated individuals at the state or regional level to serve as resources to those utilities that do not have the in-house expertise. The system could be modeled after poison- contro! hotlines, where individuals are highly trained to lead the caller through the response steps, based on the characteristics of the event. When making decisions about the classification of and access to information, consideration must be riven to the costs and benefits of wideiv releasing the water security information. A, , A, Overly restricting access to this information may unnecessarily impede efforts to prepare for and respond to an attack as well as result in the loss of valuable input from those who could provide improvements to the information. Ultimately, the criteria used to decide who shall or shall not have access to the information should be made available to the public. Essential water-security information should also be made available to the appropriate users at no cost. Summary Overall, the prioritization and sequencing of the projects to meet the needs are all considered appropriate, but recommendations are made to strengthen the projects and focus the EPA on activities that will provide useful results in a timely manner. In the development of the contaminant database, the EPA should identify the most relevant criteria to be included and focus initial data gathering on the highest priority information needed for response efforts. Where feasible, similar contaminants could be grouped into categories, thereby minimizing the time and effort required to produce a useful database. Information for the database should first be sought from existing sources, and the EPA will need to coordinate with other agencies to fill the remaining critical information gaps in a longer-term research effort. The scope of a simulant database should be narrowed to better address the potential applications for this effort, and guidance should be developed on the appropriate use of simulants. The EPA should also consider additional methods to improve the accessibility of its databases and carefully evaluate current restrictions on information access.

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76 A Review of the EPA Water Security Action Plan Contaminant Monitoring and Analysis (Section 3.3) Reliable detection of contaminants is an important component of effective response to chemical and biological attacks on water supplies. As the scope of available pathogens and toxic chemicals expands, so must our abilities to detect their presence. Early detection of an intrusion will be one defense to minimize widespread exposure. Aside from obvious needs to define the extent of contamination, advise the public of the contamination, and, if necessary, take actions to avoid exposure, detection methods and associated protocols are essential for assessing performance of treatment and decontamination efforts. Project Evaluation The research projects identified in the Action Plan were evaluated to assess whether they could meet current water security needs related to contaminant identification. In general, the proposed research projects are appropriate, although there are some concerns related to individual projects that are described below. The panel's first report (Part I) recommended several revisions to the research and technical support needs, but for simplicity, the needs and projects as presented in the Action Plan (and their associated numbering scheme; see Box 3-3) are used to organize the project-specif~c discussion below. 3.3.a "Play Book" for Analytical Response. According to the draft Implementation Plan, the preparation of a draft analytical response plan for addressing threats to drinking water from chemical contaminants, including unknowns (projects 3.3.a.1 and 3.3.a.2), was scheduled to occur over a six-month period. Additional time may be needed to develop a complete and thorough analytical response module and to incorporate information that develops out of project 3.2.a.1, the identification of priority contaminants. As recommended in Part I, a play book may also need to be tailored to address the capabilities of small systems. The other projects identified to meet this need (projects 3.3.a.3-6) appear to be appropriate and logically sequenced. The development of response protocols (or modules, such as 3.3.a.1) is an essential task but needs to be integrated with the other proposed drinking water response protocols (3.3.a.2, 3.4.b.1, 3.4.~.1, 3.6.~.3) and coordinated with all the other parts of the Action Plan that provide the data to inform the protocols. Project managers responsible for the development of response protocols will need to communicate frequently and effectively with staff from salient portions of the entire research agenda to allow integration and updating as new data are generated. There must also be communication from those involved with the protocol development to those running other projects, indicating where important gaps are appearing as the protocols are examined, tested, and used by utilities and agencies. Therefore, adequate and continuing resources and effective, stable project management are especially important for this project to support the essential integrating function of the response guidance. 3.3.b Improved Hardware and Analysis Methodologies. Concentration techniques (project 3.3.b.1) are essential to the sampling and analysis of biological components, and the development of concentration techniques should be closely coordinated with projects on associated detection methodologies (3.3.b.3 and 3.3.b.5~. The resources committed to developing these concentration techniques for priority biological contaminants, however, may be insufficient to enable the EPA to achieve its goals. It is also likely that this effort will require a longer period than the two years

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Review of Projects Identified in the Action Plan 77 currently allotted. For example, the efforts to develop methods for a single contaminant, Cryptosporidium, for the purposes of the Information Collection Rule lasted for more than a year, involved several research laboratories, and cost more than a million dollars. It may be more efficient to focus on groups of contaminants in this project, rather than on individual contaminants. Project 3.3.b.4, as described in the draft Implementation Plan, involves the compilation of a list of existing protocols for microbiological contaminants. The length of time allotted to this project (15 months) may be excessive, since the project simply represents a thorough literature review. It should be noted that the Action Plan describes 3.3.b.4 as a different project the development of data quality objectives and other analysis goals which should be added to the Implementation Plan under 3.3.c. The sequencing of projects 3.3.b.5 and 3.3.b.6, which use the information obtained in projects 3.3.b.1 through 3.3.b.4, is appropriate and logical. Specifically with respect to project 3.3.b.5, which involves the development and application of new analytical hardware and analytical methodologies for biological, chemical, and radiological contaminants, it is doubtful that this can be accomplished within the 2.5-year time frame allotted and with the available resources. A great deal of effort has been expended in this area by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and others during the past several years, involving hundreds of researchers and at least $100 million. It is unreasonable to expect that the existing gaps can be filled in such a short time period with less than $1 million, as suggested in the draft Implementation Plan, although the EPA could make a valuable contribution by assessing recent and ongoing technological developments in contaminant analysis and identifying gaps and long-term research needs. 3.3.c Requirements for Monitoring Technologies. According to the projects 3.3.c.1 and 3.3.c.2, as described in the draft Implementation Plan, EPA plans to ask the water industry for their preferences in monitoring instruments and equipment, but this seems to have the wrong focus. Instead, the EPA should define a series of performance specifications for monitoring instruments and equipment. These specifications can then be used by the manufacturers when developing products to meet the monitoring needs of the industry. The EPA should not have the primary responsibility for surveying the industry about their preferences in monitoring instruments and equipment, but the agency could play a pivotal role in this process by bringing the water industry and manufacturers together to discuss this issue. There are some unique quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC), sampling, and detection issues related to monitoring technologies that were noted in the panel's first report (see Part I). Analytical quality assurance takes on special importance when considering contaminants that can cause widespread illness or panic. There are a few projects in the Action Plan that address some aspects of QA/QC (e.g., projects 3.3.b.4, and 3.3.~1.2), but QA/QC considerations should be an explicit component of all projects concerned with methods development and testing. For example, QA/QC measures need to be explicitly included in the development of standard operating procedures for evaluating monitoring techniques that will be done in project 3.3.~.2. Rates of false positives and false negatives should be clearly understood for all relevant monitoring . . . .. . . . .. . . . tee nno ogles. , . . . ~ ~ · . · ~ it should be noted that at least one component of project 3.3.f:5 (development ot performance criteria tor methods and infrastructure to assure the adequacy of training of field and laboratory personnel) is also a QA/QC project. The following projects should also be added to address gaps identified in the panel's first report. First, a project should be developed to explicitly address sampling protocols

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Review of Projects Identified in the Action Plan 91 3.6.b A Health Surveillance Network Associated with Contaminated Drinking Water. A single project is proposed (3.6.b.1) that recognizes the importance of having significant EPA participation as well as collaboration with the CDC and other federal agencies in developing procedures for detecting an outbreak and investigating the possible role of water. The project is appropriate and of high priority. The following recommendations are made to assist the EPA in planning this project and implementing a surveillance network (see also Part I). In developing procedures for effective surveillance and investigation, it will be important to collaborate with state and local agencies as well as other federal partners. The identified project should describe the overall needs of a surveillance program, how waterborne disease surveillance would fit into a larger surveillance program, and the investigative response (e.g., who will take the lead for initiating action). Surveillance activities should include procedures for monitoring outcomes of interest and coordinating the response of a team of investigators (epidemiologists, physicians, microbiologists, chemists, and engineers) if water is the suspected mode of transmission. In order to confirm or deny the role of water as a route of transmission during an event, water quality sampling and analysis will need to be paired with active disease surveillance data. The effectiveness of current active disease surveillance systems at the local and state level should be clearly understood, and public health surveillance during recent inadvertent drinking water contamination events should be examined for lessons learned. There is also an important communication component to this need (3.6.b) on many levels (e.g., among the investigators, with the public). 3.6.c A Methodology for Using Non-traditional Data Sources for the Derivation of Toxicity Values Applied to Water. Methodology for estimating toxicity values using Quantitative Structure Activity Relationships (QSAR) (project 3.6.c.2) already exists for several health endpoints, and expertise exists in EPA to both apply existing methodology and to develop new methodologies that might be desirable. These predictive systems are far from perfect, but several methodologies are capable of providing useful information in the absence of specific experimental data. Applying LD50 data for risk assessment (project 3.6.c.1) presents more difficulties, and EPA should defer to other agencies (e.g., the U.S. Army) that are already exploring this methodology, assuming that an appropriate collaboration can be established. 3.6.d Frameworks for Assessing and Managing Risks. As noted in the panel's first report (Part A, risk assessment and risk management should be integrated into decision making during all stages of a water security event, from threat assessment to event response. The projects identified in the Action Plan should support this objective. However, considering the time constraints of the Action Plan, the 3.6.d projects should represent a focused and applied effort that builds upon the existing knowledge base in risk assessment and risk management (e.g., NRC, 1983; PCC, 1997; ILSI, 2000~. Ultimately, the projects should generate an operating procedure for risk assessment and risk management that is designed to apply specifically to the water security context. This would naturally begin with a review of current approaches, but because many of these approaches are conceptually similar, such a review should not take long. All three projects identified here are essentially part of the same project, and they should be combined and completed within one year, as they are high priority components of a water security response protocol, along with the protocols or "play books" developed in 3.3.a.1- 2 and 3.4.~1.1.

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92 A Review of the EPA Water Security Action Plan 3.6.e Methods and Means to Communicate Risks to Local Communities. The panel's first report (Part I) noted that "developing an effective broad communication strategy that meets the needs of a wide range of stakeholders, including response organizations, water organizations and utilities, public health agencies, and the media, should be among the highest priorities for the EPA." The Action Plan recognizes the importance of risk communication within the risk analysis framework. However, the project to develop a framework for risk assessment and risk communication (3.6.e.1) as described in the draft Implementation Plan emphasizes developing tools. communication tools provide mechanisms tor water managers to communicate with stakeholders about a variety of issues, but they should not precede a thoughtful communication strategy or minimize active two-way communication. Thus, EPA should prioritize research that reviews and refines existing communication strategies and explores how tools can be used more effectively, instead of only emphasizing tool development. Tools without a process to support them will not provide the return on the investment that EPA is making, nor will they help water mangers communicate effectively. Projects 3.6.e.1-4 should focus on identifying the appropriate risk communication planning process that will help water managers not only select tools but also identify stakeholders, assess stakeholder needs, and determine how stakeholders communicate within their network. These projects should be conducted in two phases. The first phase of the project focuses on the selection and refinement of a risk communication strategy for water security and consists of several steps. Many risk communication resources exist that should first be consulted and evaluated (see for example NRC, 2003a; USHHS, 2002; EPA, 2002; EPA, 20031; USFDA, 2002; ATSDR, 2001; Hance et al., 1988; Pflugh et al., 1992~. Information sharing strategies also have to be considered, such as when to release information, who are the audiences, and how to explain risk. If existing risk communication strategies do not meet the needs of water security, the project could then tailor existing strategies as necessary. Once a strategy is selected or adapted, it should be field-tested using an emergency simulation to determine its effectiveness should a real emergency arise. It is not anticipated that Phase One should take more than 1 ~ months to complete. The second phase (projects 3.6.e.2-4) of the research should focus on developing, testing, and distributing communication tools. Such tools might include written materials (e.g., pamphlets, websites), an on-line database of water-related information, or a water information hotline. Phase Two should only be initiated after careful testing and evaluation of the communication planning strategy has been completed, because the planning strategy will provide the basis for identifying and developing the tools proposed in Phase Two. Tools should be developed with different scenarios in mind based on several case examples, and field testing will be critical in order to determine the behavioral response to a risk message. The tools should then be distributed through existing networks being used by water managers. Additional communication research is warranted relative to risk and the public's response to risk messages in a water terrorism event. The following research topics should be considered as additions to the projects identified in the Action Plan: ~ . . . . . ~ · Analyze when to release information versus when to withhold it due to security concerns. · Conduct a case study analysis of risk communication strategies and tools for past disaster events.

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Review of Projects Identified in the Action Plan 93 · Develop a national training program on water-related risk communication planning and implementation for water managers. · Analyze factors that build trust, reduce fear, and prevent panic to improve overall communication strategies. · Analyze methods to counter and reduce the possibility of misinformation or false information being distributed to the public and key stakeholders. A thorough assessment of the risks and benefits of widely releasing water security information is critical to the development of a risk communication strategy, and the decision of when to release or withhold information may influence the subsequent selection of communication tools (see also the comments on section 5.2~. This project should be conducted as soon as possible. The case study analysis should be conducted concurrent to the selection and refinement of risk communication strategies (Phase One, as proposed above) to incorporate lessons learned from prior emergency events. The training program is a high priority effort, but it should be sequenced to incorporate the knowledge developed in projects 3.6.e.1-4. The final two proposed projects are also important to the refinement of risk communication strategies and tools, but information from these projects can be incorporated to improve the communication strategies and tools over time. summary The projects identified to improve the understanding of contamination-related health effects, develop or refine a risk management framework, and enhance risk communication are essential for water security preparedness and response, and several recommendations are made to enhance or expand on the projects proposed. The project to generate an operating procedure for risk assessment and risk management for water security is essential to decision making and should be accelerated and coordinated with other response protocols in the Action Plan. Analyses of acute and chronic health effects and quantitative assessments of potential exposure should build on existing knowledge in order to provide guidance to utilities and responders as quickly as possible. A review of predictive methodologies to assess toxicology values in absence of experimental data should be accelerated to illuminate gaps where additional method development work is needed and to clearly define the limitations of these methods. In the area of risk communication, EPA should emphasize research that reviews and refines existing communication strategies and explores how tools can be used more effectively, instead of only emphasizing tool development. A two-phased effort is recommended to support the needs of water security: first, selecting and refining a risk communication strategy, and second, developing, testing, and distributing communication tools. Several additional research projects are recommended that could improve risk communication activities. Recommendations are also provided to assist the EPA in planning and implementing an active disease surveillance network.

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94 A Review of the EPA Water Security Action Plan WASTEWATER The wastewater section of the Action Plan is not as developed as the drinking water section; therefore, the panel's comments in its first report (see Part I) were correspondingly less detailed. The threats potentially posed by an attack on the wastewater system are different in important ways from those posed by an attack on the drinking water system. Protecting the wastewater systems against attack and precluding the wastewater system from being used as an instrument for attacking other critical infrastructure are both important and deserve attention. Wastewater Infrastructure (Section 4.0) Two general aspects need to be considered for protecting wastewater systems: (1) risks from physical damage, and (2) risks to public health and environmental quality via treatment plant disruption. Unlike much of the water supply infrastructure, wastewater

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Review of Projects Identified in the Action Plan 95 collection systems can provide easy access to many physical structures, serving as a potential conduit for malicious use; thus, physical damage by means of wastewater collection systems may represent the greatest risk to people and infrastructure. Wastewater treatment plants may also be disrupted by physical or some types of contaminant attacks, resulting in reduced treatment performance. One consequence would be the direct discharge of untreated or marginally treated sewage to receiving waters until the plant can be reinstated, affecting downstream drinking water quality and aquatic ecosystems. Because treatment plant disruptions have occasionally occurred, there are techniques and practices already available to deal with temporary outages and they represent less direct risks to human health than drinking water system contamination. Storage of hazardous materials, such as chlorine gas, and disposal of contaminated wastes and sludges represent additional security concerns specific to wastewater systems. There are also some similarities between drinking water and wastewater security needs, and research and technical projects should be carefully planned so as not to duplicate ongoing work.

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96 Project Evaluation A Review of the EPA Water Security Action Plan EPA is currently collaborating with the Water Environment Research Foundation for additional input and will soon present revised plans for research and technical support in the area of wastewater infrastructure. Because the projects proposed in the Action Plan are likely to undergo substantial revision in this process, the panel focused its review on those projects which are currently ongoing or slated to begin in 2003 (4.a.1-4; 4.b.1; 4.c.1-2; 4.e.1; see Box 3-7) . Generally, these early projects are appropriate to meet the most pressing needs for wastewater, focusing primarily on threat assessment, determination of countermeasures, and access control. However, project 4.c.2 (to assess technologies to identify physical threats and contaminant introduction) should be delayed until vulnerability assessments and threat assessments have been conducted for wastewater infrastructure, so that the importance of contaminant detection for wastewater security can be evaluated relative to other proposed projects. The project that evaluates the linkages and interdependencies between drinking water and wastewater systems (4.a.4) may provide important insight that will help EPA managers evaluate the relative priority of additional wastewater security research. The significance of wastewater contamination or sewage discharges on drinking water quality will depend upon stream flow conditions, distance, time of travel, dilution, and the characteristics of the particular agent all of which can be modeled. The Ohio River Monitoring and Notification Network is an example of an existing system designed to detect sewage and chemical spills in the river and provide rapid warnings to downstream water systems. EPA may wish to examine examples of these types of networks to assess their capabilities and applicability with regard to terrorism incidents. With regard to hazardous materials used in wastewater plants (4.b), the wastewater industry could benefit from the knowledge and experience of other industries (e.g., the paper and chemical industries) that are facing similar security concerns. The remaining projects were not reviewed since more detailed wastewater security discussions and further project development are ongoing at EPA. Additional Projects Management and disposal of contaminated waste and sludges (including materials generated in the course of a cleanup or response action) is an area where additional research and technical support projects may be needed. There is considerable experience with managing wastes from hazardous waste sites that may provide sufficient background. As a first order of business, existing procedures should be assembled and examined for adequacy in the context of a municipal waste contamination incident. The adequacy of plant worker protection to prevent harm during potential water security attacks should also be considered. However, since sewage is routinely laden with pathogens and chemicals, current practices may be sufficiently protective.

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Review of Projects Identified in the Action Plan 97

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Review of Projects Identified in the Action Plan 99 IMPLEMENTATION Effective implementation of the Action Plan is an essential component for improving water system security through enhanced research and technical support. Communication and dissemination of the results of the Action Plan are among the most important aspects of implementation. Implementation also involves continually assessing ongoing work and emerging needs in the area of water security, building and sustaining collaborative relationships with other water security researchers and organizations, determining and articulating the roles and responsibilities of other organizations and federal agencies in conducting the work identified in the Action Plan, and identifying and securing the necessary funding to support the identified projects. An effective implementation plan would also include a process and schedule for reviewing the water security effort as it progresses, evaluating its impact, and reassessing its priorities. Providing the Means to Implement the Action Plan (Section 5.0) Eight projects have been identified in the draft Implementation Plan (EPA, 2003b), expanding on the ideas presented in the Action Plan (see Box 3-~. Overall, the projects that are proposed make valuable contributions to the implementation effort. However, some projects or aspects of projects may be missing, as discussed in more detail below. Project Eva1/~uation 5.1.a Collaborative Research and Technical Support. As noted in NRC (2003a), building collaborative relationships with a broad array of knowledgeable researchers and agency representatives to share existing knowledge, identify research and technical support gaps, target resources to projects that can generate the most benefit, and minimize duplication of effort is essential to the success of the Action Plan and should be a high priority for the EPA. The formation of the Distribution System Research Consortium is an important first step toward improving coordination and collaboration among researchers in the water security arena. Currently, the consortium includes representatives from the military (e.g., Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), AwwaRF, and several federal agencies (e.g., CDC, U.S. Geological Survey, EPA). However, as currently comprised, the group represents only a portion of the broad spectrum of those with expertise in this area. The group should be expanded to include researchers, consultants, utilities, and national laboratories with expertise in this area, as originally identified in the Action Plan. The EPA should also continue to strengthen partnerships with organizations that have focused on deliberate attacks on water systems for several years, such as the U.S. Army and international experts. EPA managers have noted that developing research consortia is a new, experimental effort, which may be expanded into other fields once the success of this first project is evaluated. Additional topics and research fields that might also benefit from improved collaboration in order to share findings and minimize duplicative research include incident assessment/risk analysis; mitigation, treatment, and response; and contaminant detection. 5.2.a Technology Advancement. Several projects were identified that involve verification of emerging water-security technologies. The cost for the Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) projects ($~.1 million) would consume over 30 percent of the total estimated budget for the Action Plan (EPA, 2003b). Undoubtedly, there are

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100 A Review of the EPA Water Security Action Plan benefits to advancing key technologies and providing a structured verification process that will assist utilities in evaluating the water security technologies available. However, considering the enormous resources required, these technologies should be selected using cost-benefit analyses. The verification process should focus on those technologies that provide the greatest potential benefits considering the relative risks and factors affecting their ultimate use, such as cost to utilities. For projects 5.2.a.2-3, ETV funds should be awarded selectively to technologies that are broadly applicable to classes of chemicals/microbes or that are specific to high-risk, likely threat agents. The subsidization should be provided for essential devices that would not otherwise be tested because they have very limited commercial potential. 5.3.a Information Sharing. Developing an effective broad communication strategy that meets the needs of the wide range of stakeholders, including response organizations, water organizations and utilities, public health agencies, and the media, while addressing security concerns, should be among the highest priorities for the EPA. Results that cannot be communicated, are not accessible, or are poorly conveyed so that they are misunderstood are not useful. The EPA is currently struggling with many of these issues, and a plan for water security research communication is under development. The projects identified in the draft Implementation Plan are appropriately prioritized, although some additional components and separate projects are suggested to strengthen the effort. The project to develop example practices (5.3.a.1) is important, as it will guide future communications efforts within EPA. Overall, the number and complexity of databases should be minimized to improve the accessibility of the data to the target users, and there are several cases where databases could be combined (e.g., the databases of treatment technologies, 3.4.c.S, and the critical properties for priority contaminants, 3.2.b.1~. As noted with regard to section 3.2, in order to broaden the accessibility of the information and because the database training requirements may be extensive and unnecessary for all utilities, multiple communication strategies should be considered. Small utilities should be given the option to call EPA (or designated state agencies) directly and allow staff to search the databases on their behalf to answer immediate questions. A second project (5.3.a.2) addresses how to get the right information to the right people at the right time, and this project should be among the highest priority efforts of the entire Action Plan. In this project, EPA will need to identify who might use and need the information being produced from the Action Plan and how will it be used, in order to effectively target dissemination methods and products to the appropriate audience. The draft concept paper on Water Security Information Sharing Strategy (EPA, 2003c) makes a good initial assessment of this, recognizing the wide array of potential information users and products. Several important issues, however, were not adequately addressed and the following projects are recommended to fill in these gaps: · Conduct an analysis of the consequences of various levels of information security, including studies on the risks and benefits of widely transmitting water security data. This study should incorporate case study analyses of similar events, such as the anthrax attacks in 2001. (This project could be combined with the project proposed in 3.6.e.) · Assess the benefits and limitations of existing methods of dissemination (e.g., web pages, the Water Information Sharing and Analysis Center), including the cost burden to the government and those who need the information, so that managers can decide whether existing dissemination mechanisms are appropriate

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Review of Projects Identified in the Action Plan 101 to the agency's communication needs. 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