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State of Alaska > DEC >  EH > Drinking Water > Security> Contamination Threat  

Program Manager: James Weise
Phone (907) 269-7647
Fax (907) 269-7655

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Planning for and responding to a drinking water contamination threat can be overwhelming. There are so many questions and scenarios to consider— is the contaminant known or unknown; how do you test for an unknown contaminant; do you know how and when you would communicate with the media and the public regarding an unconfirmed and/or confirmed contamination threat; who would you call to help you respond?

Luckily there is guidance available that takes the guesswork out of managing such concerns. Review the below resources, and feel free to contact the Drinking Water Program Security Specialist with any questions.

    I. "Response Protocol Toolbox"

    This EPA developed guidance document assists systems in planning for and responding to drinking water contamination threats and incidents. Consisting of six sizeable modules, the document is quite intensive. Many find it helpful to first gain a basic understanding by starting with the condensed companion document, "A Water Security Handbook: Planning for and Responding to Drinking Water Contamination Threats and Incidents", and then graduating to the full Response Protocol Toolbox. Additionally, this PowerPoint Presentation entitled "Responding to Threats Against Water Systems," summarizes Module 2 of the Response Protocol Toolbox

    In addition to the six modules, the Response Protocol Toolbox includes "Response Guidelines," which consolidate the response templates of the six modules into a single, easy to use document for field and crisis conditions. While the six modules of Response Protocol Toolbox provide detailed information, the Response Guidelines are to be viewed as the application of the same principles during an actual incident.

    II. WCIT – Water Contaminate Information Tool

    WCIT is a Password protected online database containing information on upwards of 100 contaminants that pose a serious threat if introduced to a drinking water system. The database provides quick access to vital information including treatment recommendations and system decontamination processes. As a planning tool, WCIT supports vulnerability assessments, emergency response plans, and site-specific response guidelines. As a response tool, WCIT provides contaminant data to help responders (including utilities) make appropriate response decisions.

    III. Educate Community Youth

    Loitering and minor vandalism incidents account for the majority of contamination threats. Typically, these incidents are attributed to community youths. An effective means of decreasing the volume of 'possible contamination threats' which require subsequent investigation, is to educate community youths regarding the seriousness of tampering with water systems. Many teens simply are not aware that a fun-night-on-the-water-tower could translate into an expensive site characterization process involving multiple public agencies including law enforcement. Some communities use the short PowerPoint, "Protect our Community: Respect your Public Water System", as a teaching tool to help enforce the gravity of trespassing and tampering with systems. The dialogue box in the upper left-hand corner of each slide provides useful speaking notes.


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