To ensure residents get drinking water and wastewater continues to be treated, utilities in California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas have agreed to share employees, resources, and equipment during emergencies (Click here for more information).

Because their 10-step action plans conform to the National Incident Management System (NIMS), established by the Department of Homeland Security to further the Bush administration's goals for national preparedness, the utilities are eligible for federal reimbursement. The plans address member indemnification and workers' compensation for each utility, and don't require a declaration.

Best of all, says consultant Ray Riordan, former emergency preparedness manager for the city of San Ramon, Calif., "None of the members had to pay a dime to participate."

World-famous for its earthquakes, flooding, fires, and mud slides, California was the first state to bring the public and private sectors together to develop preparedness plans (More informationon California's plans). The utilities in the seven states that have followed suit since then have three support options; they can:

Session: "Water Sector Security: Practices, Approaches, and Collaboration"

Curt Baranowski, Environmental Protection Specialist
Laura Flynn, Team Leader
EPA Active and Effective Water Security Program
Washington, D.C.

Ray Riordan
EPA Support Contractor
CSC
San Ramon, Calif.
Mon., Sept. 10, 2007
10:30 a.m.-noon

This article is part of PUBLIC WORKS magazine's live coverage from the 2007 APWA Show. Click here to read more articles from the show.