Terrorism and Security Issues Facing the Water Infrastructure Sector [May 26, 2009] [open pdf - 233KB]
"Damage to or destruction of the nation's water supply and water quality infrastructure by terrorist attack or natural disaster could disrupt the delivery of vital human services in this country, threatening public health and the environment, or possibly causing loss of life. Interest in such problems has increased greatly since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States. Across the country, water infrastructure systems extend over vast areas, and ownership and operation responsibility are both public and private, but are overwhelmingly non-federal. Since the attacks, federal dam operators and local water and wastewater utilities have been under heightened security conditions and are evaluating security plans and measures. There are no federal standards or agreed-upon industry practices within the water infrastructure sector to govern readiness, response to security incidents, and recovery. Efforts to develop protocols and tools are ongoing since the 2001 terrorist attacks. This report presents an overview of this large and diverse sector, describes security-related actions by the government and private sector since September 11, and discusses additional policy issues and responses, including congressional interest. [...] Recent congressional interest has focused on two legislative issues: (1) security of wastewater utilities, and (2) whether to include water utilities in chemical security regulations implemented by DHS[...] The Obama Administration has requested that the current chemical facilities standards, which are scheduled to sunset September 30, 2009, be extended for one year without modification. [...] Continuing attention to these issues in the 111th Congress is possible, along with interest in how the federal government coordinates its own activities and communicates policies and information to the water infrastructure sector."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32189