Vulnerability Analysis and Emergency Response for Small Water Systems

The events of September 11, 2001 prompted the approval by Congress of the Bioterrorism Act of 2002. Title IV of the Act addresses security at water treatment systems and requires that a vulnerability analysis be performed for facilities serving 3,300 persons or more. This analysis is then used to prepare an emergency response plan. A vulnerability analysis is conducted in order to determine and assign priorities to the critical assets of a water system, determine and assign priorities to the potential threats, evaluate the risk level and identify additional countermeasures needed to reduce this risk. The steps to be followed are:

1. Identify the assets
2. Determine criticality of the different components
3. Identify the threats from different agents
4. Assign priorities to the possible consequences
5. Identify existing countermeasures
6. Assign vulnerability to the different components
7. Determine risk level and its acceptability
8. Develop additional countermeasures

Puerto Rico has approximately 80 public water treatment systems, all owned and operated by a central public corporation. It also has approximately 250 rural water systems, owned and operated by small communities. This project, sponsored by the Drinking Water Program of the Health Department and conducted jointly with the Environmental Health Department of the School of Public Health of the Medical Sciences Campus, developed different methodologies used for the vulnerability analyses and the emergency response plan for all of these systems, is currently training rural community personnel to perform the assesments and is developing training materials for the implementation of cost effective solutions to the more common problems.

Related documents (pdf format):

- Ley Num. 164 del año 2008
- Franquicia de Agua
- Hoja de Informe Mensual de Cloro Residual