Rural Water - Quarter 3, 2017 - 22
relationships with local fuel suppliers,
diesel mechanics and electricians will also
prove useful in a bind.
Taking an accurate inventory of supplies
is a good idea. Establish what you need
to acquire and set a budget for it. If
something is unattainable for your system,
as is often the case for small communities,
then do some research on systems nearby
that have what you need. Neighboring
systems or large communities in your
county, county emergency department,
state agencies, local construction
businesses or farming operations are all
places to consider looking. Remember
that you may be able to get grant money
for emergency equipment from your
county emergency department. Your
state's WARN is also a good place to go
for help as it allows you to have access
to the resources of other wastewater and
drinking water systems. Establish a good
working relationship with some of your
surrounding entities and have their number
on hand in case of an emergency.
During the flooding that struck this past
winter, several wastewater systems were
looking at overfull lagoons. In some towns
all the manholes were submerged so
massive amounts of water were pouring
into the system. What could be done
Some systems that applied in the
spring were able to obtain special
permission from DEQ to set up the
sprinklers early. In some instances, this
involved coordinating with farmers to
bring out equipment early. In other cases,
wastewater had to be pumped and trucked
to neighboring systems to take advantage
of lagoons that weren't as full. Either way,
having working relationships with other
groups was important in finding a solution.
This is the idea behind the WARN system
of emergency response. If you're not a
member, now is a great time to join.
7. Create an emergency
response plan, including a
contact list, and exercise it.
Most likely your system has created
an Emergency Response Plan (ERP) and
Security Vulnerability Assessment (SVA)
at some point in the past. While these
documents provide a very thorough
analysis of potential threats to your system
and emergency protocol, there are two
elements that must be stressed in order
for them to be useful.
The first is that your ERPs must be
tested. You should plan on running a
tabletop exercise or emergency walkthrough at least once a year. By acting out
a variety of scenarios, you will identify
elements that are missing from your ERP.
Be sure to include both drinking water and
wastewater staff, engineers, administrative
staff, local emergency responders and
any decision makers. One way to engage
your staff in the training exercise is to
have them design it. Let the participants
come up with the scenario and guide the
discussion. Another way to test out your
ERP is to have an external source review
it or join the exercise. A third party will be
able to view your ERP with unbiased eyes
and give suggestions for what might have
The second thing to be conscious of
is that ERPs and SVAs are not necessarily
helpful when you need to act fast. Having
a document of emergency numbers that
you can access quickly will serve to reduce
damage and stress during an emergency.
A key resource to include is where you
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THIRD QUARTER 2017