Upcoming EPA Deadlines Require Risk Assessments and Emergency Response Plans for Community Drinking Water Systems
  • Water
  • Environmental
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • EPA
  • drinking water
  • Delve
  • AWIA
  • 2019

Last October, the President signed America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) of 2018, which requires water utilities to develop or make updates to risk and resilience assessments and emergency response plans for their community water systems. This notice was published in the Federal Register on March 27, 2019 and includes requirements and compliance deadlines for systems serving more than 3,300 people.

What Does It Mean?
Many utilities will need to act soon, especially those who haven’t previously conducted a risk and resilience assessment. The assessment parameters incorporate elements such as:

  • the risk to the system from malevolent acts and natural hazards;
  • the resilience of the pipes and constructed conveyances, physical barriers, source water, water collection and intake, pretreatment, treatment, storage and distribution facilities, electronic, computer, or other automated systems (including the security of such systems) which are used by the system;
  • the monitoring practices of the system;
  • the financial infrastructure of the system;
  • the use, storage, or handling of various chemicals by the system; and
  • the operation and maintenance of the system (EPA 2019).

EPA is expected to publish a baseline threat document to further guide development of assessments on August 1, 2019.

Compliance Deadlines
Under AWIA, utilities are required to submit certification documentation of completed risk/resilience assessments to EPA by the following deadlines:

  • March 31, 2020, for systems serving a population of 100,000 or more;
  • December 31, 2020, for systems serving a population of 50,000 or more, but less than 100,000; and
  • June 30, 2021, for systems serving a population greater than 3,300, but less than 50,000.

Additionally, each entity must also provide documentation of its emergency response plan within six months of providing the risk/resilience certification. After the initial compliance deadline, each entity will be required to review its risk and resilience assessment every five years.

EPA is currently working on developing an online system for submittal, and documentation will also be accepted by regular mail and email. A comprehensive overview of the requirements can be viewed in a PowerPoint presentation here.

For questions, please contact our experts:
Tammy Reed, P.E.
Senior Engineer

Scott Swiderski, P.E., CCM
Senior Engineer

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