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EPA further Protects the Nation's Water Systems-- Establishes New Water Security Division

Release Date: 09/09/2003
Contact Information:

Contact: Cathy Milbourn 202-564-7824 /

(09/09/03) G. Tracy Mehan III, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Water, announced today that the Agency has taken strong steps to further protect and safeguard the nation’s drinking water and wastewater systems from terrorist acts by forming a new Water Security Division. This Division will continue the important work undertaken by the Water Protection Task Force established in October 2001.

“Shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, the Bush Administration strengthened efforts already underway to promote security at America’s public water facilities,” said G. Tracy Mehan III, the EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Water. “We are working closely with our stakeholders coast to coast to provide them with the resources and support they need as they find themselves facing increased responsibilities to protect the water supplies of their customers.”

To date, the original Task Force has supported numerous activities to improve security of drinking water and wastewater utilities. Major accomplishments which will be enhanced by the Water Security Division include:
  • Awarding $51 million in grants directly to large drinking water systems to assist compliance with the requirements of the “Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002.” Out of 466 total systems, 464 have submitted vulnerability assessments to EPA.
  • Awarding over $30 million in grants to the States, tribes, and non-profit organizations to provide tools, training and technical assistance to small and medium drinking water systems as well as wastewater utilities on vulnerability assessments and related security work.
  • Supporting the establishment of the WaterISAC, a state-of-the-art, secure information system that shares up-to-date threat and incident information between the intelligence community and the water sector.
  • Developing and implementing a comprehensive research plan to address water security needs along with EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

Under the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act, EPA works closely with partner organizations -- government agencies and drinking water and waste water utilities and associations to ensure clean and safe water. Industry and government are also working to improve drinking water and waste water security. Building on and supporting long-established relationships with its partners, EPA helps the water sector to: understand and utilize the best scientific information and technologies for water security; support assessment of utilities’ vulnerabilities to possible attack; take action to improve security and respond effectively and efficiently in the event that an incident occurs. For more information on water security go to: