Protecting a Drinking Water System

Security and emergency response planning have always been an important part of managing a drinking water system. Below are a few things that you can do to protect your water system from contamination or other unexpected events.

  1. Conduct a security vulnerability assessment and prepare (or update) an emergency response plan (ERP). Make sure all employees help to create the ERP and receive training on the plan.
  2. Post updated emergency 24-hour numbers at your facilities in highly visible areas (pump house door, vehicles, office) and give them to key personnel and local response officials.
  3. Get to know your local police and ask them to add your facilities to their routine rounds. Practice emergency response procedures with local police, emergency response and public health officials.
  4. Fence and lock your drinking water facilities and vulnerable areas (e.g. wellhead, intakes, springs, pump house, treatment facility, and storage tanks).
  5. Lock all entry gates and doors and set alarms to indicate illegal entry. Do not leave keys in equipment or vehicles at any time.
  6. Install good lighting around your pump house, treatment facility and parking lot.
  7. Identify existing and alternate water supplies and maximize use of backflow prevention devices and interconnections. Have an active, aggressive cross-connection control program.
  8. Use your source water assessment information to work with any businesses and homeowners that are listed as potential sources of contamination and lessen their threat to your source.
  9. Lock monitoring wells to prevent vandals or terrorists from pouring contaminants directly into ground water near your source. Prevent pouring or siphoning contaminants through vent pipes by moving them inside the pump house or treatment plant, or if that isn’t possible, fencing or screening them.
  10. In case of an emergency, first call "911," then follow your Emergency Response Plan.