Safeguarding the Nation's Drinking Water: EPA and Congressional Actions [Updated August 22, 2002]   [open pdf - 68KB]

"The events of September 11 raised concerns about the security of the nation's drinking water supplies and their vulnerability to attack. Issues include the readiness of water utilities to prevent and respond to attacks on water systems, steps that can be taken to improve preparedness and response capabilities, and the availability of resources to help utilities enhance drinking water security. After a presidential commission on critical infrastructure protection identified vulnerabilities in the drinking water sector in 1997, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with other federal agencies, water utilities, and state and local governments, began taking steps to improve the security of water systems, although these efforts generally were not targeted to current concerns over terrorism. For several years, EPA has provided some research, information, and technical and financial assistance to improve preparedness and increase the security of drinking water systems and supplies. Some of these activities began pursuant to the 1998 Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) 63 on protecting the nation's critical infrastructure, but PDD-63 efforts were focused almost entirely on computer security issues. Since September 11; however, EPA has substantially broadened and expedited its efforts to help drinking water utilities safeguard facilities and supplies from terrorist or other threats. Congress has taken significant steps to improve security in the water sector since September 11. In the emergency supplemental appropriations for FY2002 (P.L. 107- 117, H.R.3338), Congress provided EPA with $175.6 million for several counterterrorism activities, including enhancing drinking water security."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL31294
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