Release of EPA’s Baseline Information on Malevolent Acts for Community Water Systems

Aug 06, 2019 | Michelle Shapiro

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released “Baseline Information on Malevolent Acts for Community Water Systems” as required by America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA). The document provides Community Water Systems (CWS) with information that will assist them in assessing risk and in the development of their risk assessments. Water systems, like other utilities, can face an array of threats from both natural hazards (e.g., floods, hurricanes) and malevolent acts (e.g., cyber-attacks, contamination). By using this document, systems can identify and take steps to reduce the risk that a specific system will experience if one of these threats occurs or deter a threat from occuring. By assessing threats, systems across the country can identify, prepare for and manage any risks they may have by adopting an “all-hazards” approach that:

  • Identifies, deters, detects, and prepares for these threats.
  • Reduces vulnerabilities of critical assets.
  • Mitigates the potential consequences of incidents that do occur.

The information included in this document is not a threat analysis for a specific system and it should not be used as such. The values are intended to serve as a starting point for systems to consider when they are estimating the threat likelihood of malevolent acts as part of a risk and resilience assessment. When conducting site-specific assessments, systems may determine that lower or higher threat likelihood values are appropriate. The process systems will go through to identify their specific threats will take into account their unique situations, which cannot be reflected in the baseline numbers. It is also important to note that threat likelihood is not an assessment of the risk that malevolent acts may have on public health. While the resources provided in this document are already publicly available, this is the first time EPA, or any other federal agency, has compiled this important information for systems across the country.

For more information on EPA’s actions under AWIA, go to www.epa.gov/safewater/awia.


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About Michelle Shapiro

Michelle Shapiro is a communication specialist for the Environmental Health & Disability team at NACCHO.

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