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Emergency Response to Threats of Intentional Contamination of Public Water Supplies: A 2-Day Workshop of Instructional Training and an Extensive Tabletop Exercise
Hosted by U.S. EPA

There are several threats and potential incidents that could jeopardize the safety of our public drinking water supplies. These include physical assaults on facilities, releases of hazardous biological agents or chemicals, natural disasters and cyber attacks. The intentional contamination of public water supplies is probably the threat of most concern because this could potentially affect the health and safety of the public most directly and rapidly. In fact, large numbers of consumers could be exposed before the contamination is detected.

Over the past two years the Environmental Protection Agency, in collaboration with the water industry, has created the Response Protocol Toolbox: Planning for and Responding to Contamination Threats to Drinking Water Systems (the "Toolbox"). The Toolbox provides extensive guidance to drinking water utilities, laboratories, emergency responders, state drinking water programs, technical assistance providers, public health personnel and law enforcement officials on how to respond to threats or actual incidents of intentional contamination.

To further assist utilities and emergency responders in preparing for threats and potential incidents, EPA is offering a series of 2-day emergency response workshops across the nation. The first day of the workshop will consist of instructional training on emergency response and will include an extensive review of EPA's Response Protocol Toolbox. Day 1 will also include a discussion of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) which describes the nationally accepted protocol for managing public emergencies ranging from accidents and natural disasters to acts of terrorism. The NIMS instruction will focus on the Incident Command System (ICS) and the activation of Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs).

Day 2 of the workshop will be devoted to a detailed tabletop exercise centered on an intentional contamination event of a public water supply. The goal of the exercise is to bring representatives of the key response agencies together to apply the guidance provided during the first day of training. The exercise will involve personnel from utilities, FBI, local and state police, emergency responders, EPA, state regulatory agencies, state and local health departments, elected officials, and any other agencies or individuals that would be involved in the response to such an incident.

There is no fee to attend this workshop, and 1.6 CEUs are being offered. For general information contact Katie Resnick by telephone at 508-833-6600 , Ext. 121 or via e-mail at epa@horsleywitten.com

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