Emergency Response and Security

Law Enforcement

Many hazards threaten the safety of our drinking water. Water system operators and managers must prepare for a variety of emergencies from natural disasters to accidental spills. Filtration and disinfection treatment are just a couple of the options water systems have to keep water safe.

Having a detailed and practiced emergency response plan and an active security program is critical to providing protection from all hazards, especially criminal threats to our drinking water. Even with the best protective program in place, a determined attacker may gain access to a water supply. When this happens, water system operators and health officials depend upon law enforcement officers to determine the credibility of any criminal or terrorist threat. Police investigators have the experience to evaluate a crime scene and can identify the signs of criminal activity.

The signs of a break-in are not always as obvious as a cut lock or broken window. If an attacker tampers with the water supply the evidence may be as subtle as a change in the chlorine residual, or a shift in the pH. This is why it is crucial to combine the technical expertise of the water system operator, and the investigative know-how of the police to respond to criminal and terrorist threats to our water.

For more information, contact the Office of Drinking Water.