What is the AWIA?

America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) which was signed into law on October 23, 2018, amends the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and imposes new requirements and deadlines for Community Water Systems. The law specifies the components that the Risk and Resilience Assessments (RRA) and Emergency Response Plans (ERPs) must address, and establishes deadlines by which water systems must certify the completion of the RRA and ERP to the EPA. Preparation of an ERP will enable owners or operators of community water systems to apply for grants from the EPA for fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

Covered Water Systems

Community water systems that serve more than 3,300 people are covered by these requirements. EPA interprets the population served to mean all persons served by the system directly or indirectly, including the population served by consecutive water systems, such as wholesalers.

What are the Requirements?

Risk and Resilience Assessment Requirements

Each covered community water system must assess the risks to, and the resilience of, its system, including:

      • Risk to the system from malevolent acts and natural hazards
      • Resilience of the pipes and constructed conveyances, physical barriers, source water, water collection and intake, pretreatment, treatment, storage and distribution facilities;
      • Electronic, computer, or other automated systems (including the security of such systems) which are utilized by the system;
      • Monitoring practices of the system;
      • Financial infrastructure of the system;
      • Use, storage, or handling of various chemicals by the system; and
      • Operation and maintenance of the system.

Emergency Response Plan (ERP) Requirements

No later than six months after certifying completion of its risk and resilience assessment, each system must prepare or revise, where necessary, an emergency response plan that incorporates the findings of the assessment.  The plan shall include:

      • Strategies and resources to improve the resilience of the system, including the physical security and cybersecurity of the system;
      • Plans and procedures that can be implemented, and identification of equipment that can be utilized, in the event of a malevolent act or natural hazard that threatens the ability of the community water system to deliver safe drinking water;
      • Actions, procedures and equipment which can obviate or significantly lessen the impact of a malevolent act or natural hazard on the public health and the safety and supply of drinking water provided to communities and individuals, including the development of alternative source water Strategies that can be used to aid in the detection of malevolent acts or natural hazards that threaten the security or resilience of the system.
      • Community water systems shall to the extent possible coordinate with local emergency planning committees established under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act of 1986 when preparing or revising an assessment or emergency response plan under the AWIA.
      • Systems must maintain a copy of the assessment and emergency response plan for five years after certifying the plan to the EPA.

AWIA Certification to the EPA

Community Water System will submit certification of the Risk and Resilience Assessment and Emergency Response Plan once they have been completed.  The letter must include the date of the certification and will be submitted via regular, email, or secure online portal. Community Water System will need to review, update and re-certify every 5 years.

Third Party Standards

The EPA does not require water systems to use any designated standards. Community water systems must conduct risk and resilience assessments and prepare emergency response plans required under AWIA Section 2013 that meet the specific requirements outlined under AWIA Section 2013.

Community water systems may use any standards, methods or tools that aid the system in meeting the requirements of AWIA Sections 2013(a) and (b). However, regardless of the use of any standard, method or tool, the community water system is responsible for ensuring that its risk and resilience assessment and emergency response plan fully address all AWIA requirements.

Why AARC Consultants?

AARC Consultants has conducted vulnerability assessment of several sensitive infrastructures including Community Water Systems. Professionals at AARC have intricate knowledge in designing and operating the CWS, managing SCADA systems, and have the highest level of certifications in cybersecurity.