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RPTB Overview - Objectives - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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RPTB Overview - Objectives. To provide a framework to identify credible incidents/dismiss hoaxes. To serve as a Planning Tool that can be adapted to a specific user’s needs To provide guidance from the time of discovery through remediation and return to normal operation.

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RPTB Overview - Objectives

  • To provide a framework to identify credible incidents/dismiss hoaxes.

  • To serve as a Planning Tool that can be adapted to a specific user’s needs

  • To provide guidance from the time of discovery through remediation and return to normal operation

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RPTB Overview - Response Guidance

Offers guidance on…

  • Whom to notify

  • Actions to take

  • How to conduct a ‘Threat Evaluation’

  • How to collect samples

  • How to analyze samples

  • How to remediate and recover

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RPTB Overview - Organization

Six modules:

1. Water Utility Planning Guide

2. Contamination Threat Management Guide

3. Site Characterization & Sampling Guide

4. Analytical Guide

5. Public Health Response Guide

6. Remediation and Recovery Guide

  • Module ‘0’ provides an Overview

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Potential Users

  • Drinking water utilities

  • Laboratories

  • Emergency responders

  • State drinking water programs

  • Technical assistance providers

  • Public health officials

  • EPA and other federal agencies

  • Law enforcement

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Module 1: Water Utility Planning Guide


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Module 1: Water Utility Planning Guide

  • Overview of contamination threats and incidents:

    • Threat warning sources

    • Due Diligence – threat response

  • Preparing for contamination threats:

    • Updating ERPs

    • Establish ICS

    • Develop communication plan

    • Enhance physical security

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Warnings of Potential Contamination





Public Health

Notification by






Notification by


Law Enforcement

Unusual Water

Notification by


News Media

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Contamination Threat vs. Incident

  • Contamination threat – an indication that a contaminant may have been introduced (not confirmed).

  • Contamination incident - the confirmed presence of a harmful substance (requires a response)

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Module 2:Contamination Threat Management Guide

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Module 2:Contamination Threat Management Guide

Module 2 provides:

  • A framework for decision-making

  • A threat evaluation and management process

  • Descriptions of response actions

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Threat Evaluation and Management Process

  • Evaluation of all available information to determine if contamination is:

    • ‘Possible’

    • ‘Credible’

    • ‘Confirmed’

  • Work with minimal information

  • Iterative process that is updated as more information becomes available

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Players in the Threat Management Process

  • Drinking water utilities (WUERM)

  • Drinking water primacy agency

  • Public health officials

  • Emergency responders

  • Local law enforcement

  • FBI

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Is the Threat ‘Possible’?

  • A threat is deemed ‘possible’ if the circumstances indicate the opportunity for contamination

  • One-hour target for ‘possible’ stage

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Is the Threat ‘Possible’?

  • Information available at ‘possible’ stage:

    • Details of the threat warning

  • If a threat is ‘possible’, potential response actions include:

    • Isolation and containment

    • Initiate site characterization and sampling

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Is the Threat ‘Credible’?

  • A threat is deemed ‘credible’ if additional information corroborates the threat

  • 2 - 8 hour target for ‘credible’ stage.

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Is the Threat ‘Credible’?

  • Information available at ‘credible’ stage:

    • Site characterization results.

    • Information from external resources

  • If a threat is ‘credible’, potential response actions include:

    • Public notification

    • Sample analysis & more site characterization

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Is the Threat ‘Confirmed’?

  • A contamination incident is confirmed once conclusive evidence is obtained

  • May take several days to confirm

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Confirmation of a threat through:

  • Results of Sample Analysis:

    • Advantage: provides definitive evidence

    • Disadvantage: may ‘miss’ contaminant during sampling or design of analytical approach

  • Preponderance of Evidence:

    • Results of site characterization

    • Assessment by law enforcement

    • Assessment by public health agencies

    • Additional factors and information

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Is the Threat ‘Confirmed’?

  • Information available at ‘confirmed’ stage:

    • Results of sample analyses

    • Additional site characterization

    • Information from external resources

  • If a threat is ‘confirmed’, potential response actions include:

    • Revising of actions taken to protect public

    • Planning for remediation and recovery

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Threat Management Process

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Module 3: Site Characterization and Sampling Guide

  • Intended for water utility staff and first responders

  • Contains procedures for conducting site characterization activities

  • Implemented at ‘possible’ stage to establish ‘credible’ and ‘confirmed’ threat

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Site Characterization Procedures

  • Planning by the WUERM and/or Incident Commander

  • Implementation by the Site Characterization Team

    • Site Evaluation

    • Field safety screening

    • Rapid field testing of the water

    • Sample collection

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Site Characterization Process

Five Stages

  • Customizing the Plan

  • Approaching the Site

  • Characterizing the Site

  • Collecting Samples

  • Exiting the Site

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1. Customizing the Plan

  • Site Characterization Plan customized based on nature of threat (4 hazard categories)

    • low, radiological, chemical, and/or biological

  • Site characterization team assembled based on type of threat and safety needs

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2. Approaching the Site

  • Establishing site zones:

    • Site perimeter and staging area

    • Protective action zone where specialized PPE may be required

  • Conduct field safety screening:

    • Detect environmental hazards (air & surfaces).

  • Initial evaluation of site conditions

  • Determine if it is safe to proceed

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3. Characterizing the Site

  • Repeat field safety screening

  • Evaluate site conditions:

    • Signs of intrusion or tampering

    • General signs of contamination

    • Indicators of chemical contamination

  • Rapid field testing of the water:

    • Additional information for the threat assessment

    • Tentative identification of contaminants

    • Determine if special precautions are required for sampling

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3. Characterizing the Site – cont’d.

  • Currently Available Rapid Analytical Assessment Tools:

    • Acute Toxicity Testing

    • Rapid Immunoassays

    • Rapid Enzyme Test

    • Rapid PCR

    • Field Deployable GC/MS

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3. Characterizing the Site – cont’d.

Rapid Analytical Methods

  • Technology is rapidly improving

  • Results are only presumptive

  • These methods are no substitute for standard laboratory analyses

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4. Sample Collection

  • To follow rapid field testing

  • Samples to be collected and analyzed in accordance with State Primacy Agency/EPA/USGS guidelines

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5. Exiting the Site

  • Initiated upon completion of site characterization

  • Confirm collection of appropriate samples

  • Properly document findings

  • Secure the site

  • Securing a site may involve multiple steps for higher hazard level sites and/or crime scenes

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Module 4: Analytical Guide

  • Intended for planners and labs that may provide support to the water utility during an event

  • Provides a general approach to the analysis of unknowns in water

  • Identifies analytical procedures for:

    • Chemicals

    • Radionuclides

    • Pathogens

  • Not intended as a ‘how to’ lab manual

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Analytical Approach for Unknown Contaminants

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Environmental Chemistry Labs

  • Labs suited to complete analyses for compliance with the Safe Drinking Water or Clean Water Acts

  • May require advance notice for analysis

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Radiochemistry Labs

  • For analysis of a range of radionuclides

  • Include EPA, DOE, State and some commercial labs

  • Federal Radiological Management Center (FRMAC) operated by FEMA

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Biotoxin Labs

  • Currently few labs with this capability

  • Labs with this capability are listed in the Laboratory Response Network (LRN)

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Chemical Weapons Labs

  • Chemicals placed on Chemical Weapons Convention (CSC) Schedule 1

  • Two labs in US qualified and permitted

    US Army Edgewood Laboratory

    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories

  • Access through Federal Agencies

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Microbiological Labs

  • For analysis of waterborne pathogens

  • May include hospital, medical, public health and/or environmental microbiology labs

  • Labs with this capability listed in Laboratory Response Network (LRN)

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Laboratory Response Network (LRN)

  • Developed by CDC, Association of Public Health Labs and FBI

  • Designated to handle bioterrorism events

    • Pathogens

    • Biotoxins

  • Composed of City, County, State and Federal Public Health labs

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    Module 5:Public Health Response Guide

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    Module 5:Public Health Response Guide

    Five Public Health Response Actions:

    • Plan the public health response

    • Determine public health consequences

    • Implement appropriate operational responses 

    • Implement the public notification strategy

    • Make available a short term alternate water supply (if necessary)

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    1. Plan the public health response

    Pre-Threat Planning:

    • Integrate Health Dept into Utility ERP

    • Identify agencies involved and roles

    • Develop communication strategy

    • Develop operational/health response plans

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    2. Determine Public Health Consequences from Incident

    Post-Threat (contaminant identified)

    • Assess acute/chronic health effects

    • Determine exposure routes of concern

    • Determine stability of contaminant in water

    • Calculate ability to spread in distribution system

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    3. Implement Appropriate Operational Responses

    • Isolation and containment of suspect water

    • Elevation of disinfection levels

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    4. Public Notification Guidance

    • Content:

      • Specific instructions to consumers

      • Explanation of situation

      • What is being done to address it

    • Format:

      • Short and simple

      • In all common languages

    • Methods of delivery:

      • Broadcast media

      • Distribution through community centers

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    5. Short-Term Alternate Water Supply

    • Water for consumption and sanitation:

      • Bottled water

      • Bulk water hauled to distribution center

    • Water for firefighting:

      • Pumper trucks filled from neighboring supply

      • Contaminated water if no other immediately available alternative

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    Module 6:Remediation and Recovery Guide



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    Module 6:Remediation and Recovery Guide

    • Intended for entities involved in characterization, risk assessment and remediation

    • Designed to address incidents that pose immediate and/or long term risks

    • Overall objective – return water system to service ASAP

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    Roles and Responsibilities

    • Recovery is coordinated under the Incident Command System

    • ‘No single agency (government or private sector) possesses the authority and expertise to unilaterally implement the remediation and recovery program.’

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    Long term alt. water supply

    System Characterization / Feasibility study

    Risk Assessment

    Detailed analysis of alternatives

    Remediation technology selection

    Remedial Design

    Remedial Action

    Post Remediation Monitoring

    Communication to restore public confidence

    Steps to Remediation and Recovery

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    1. Long Term Alternate Water Supply

    • Need depends on nature and severity of contamination

    • State and Federal assistance is likely to be required

      • EPA, FEMA, Army Corps of Engineers

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    2. System Characterization / Feasibility Study

    • Detailed assessment of nature and extent of contamination

    • Preliminary feasibility study of treatment options

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    3. Risk Assessment

    • Evaluate risk reduction achieved in immediate response actions

    • Establish preliminary remediation goals

    • Assess potential risk reduction from long-term remedial actions

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    4. Detailed Analysis of Remedial Alternatives

    • Evaluation based on:

      • effectiveness

      • technical feasibility

      • treatability of contaminant

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    5. Remediation Technology Selection

    Advantages/Disadvantages based on:

    • Protection of human health and the environment

    • Compliance with applicable regulations

    • Implementability

    • Cost

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    6. Remedial Design

    • Lead agency (assisted by utility, etc.) responsible for design

    • Includes preparation of:

      • Specifications

      • Documentation

      • Detailed Drawings

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    7. Remedial Action

    • Implementation of Remedial Design

    • Treatment system construction, operation and maintenance

    • Treatment of contaminated water AND rehabilitation of system components

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    8. Post Remediation Monitoring

    Post-treatment Start-up monitoring:

    • Monitoring for contaminants of concern

    • Regular system performance inspections and maintenance

    • Regular water distribution system inspection and maintenance

    • Maintenance of security measures

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    9. Communication to Restore Public Confidence

    • Public Outreach

    • Workshops

    • Meetings

    • Presentations

    • Information Repository

    • Revised Public Notifications

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    • The threat of contamination is a reality faced by drinking water systems

    • All threats should be evaluated to determine if they are “possible” or “credible”

    • Effective management of a contamination threat relies on:

      • Timely and relevant information

      • A systematic evaluation of the threat

      • Appropriate response decisions

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    Summary (cont’d.)

    • Planning for an effective response to a contamination threat or incident may be the most efficient and effective defense

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