Risk & Resilience and Emergency Response Requirements for Water Utilities: What does this mean for you?


Tulalip Water Pipeline

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has announced that community water systems that serve more than 3,300 people are required to complete a risk and resilience assessment and develop an emergency response plan by June 30, 2021. (This is according to Section 2013 of America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018.) Are you prepared?

What is a Risk and Resilience Assessment?

According to the EPA, risk and resilience assessments “evaluate the vulnerabilities, threats and consequences from potential hazards.” These must be reviewed every five years and resubmitted to the EPA. They include elements such as natural hazards and malevolent acts; resilience of water source treatment, and distribution system infrastructure; monitoring practices; security and resilience of financial, electronic, and automation (SCADA) systems; chemical storage and handling; and operation and maintenance.

You must coordinate the assessment with local emergency planning committees.

Find out more about developing a Risk and Resilience Assessment on the EPA website.

What about the Emergency Response Plan?

The Emergency Response Plan should describe “strategies, resources, plans, and procedures utilities can use to prepare for and respond to an incident, natural or man-made, that threatens life, property, or the environment,” according to the EPA. Incidents can vary in size and impact from main breaks or localized flooding to hurricanes, earthquakes, or system contamination.

An emergency response plan must be developed or updated no later than six months after risk and resilience assessment certification according to the EPA.

You must coordinate the plan with local emergency planning committees.

An Emergency Response Plan template and instructions can be found on the EPA website.


America’s Water Infrastructure Act does not require the use of any particular standards, methods, or tools for these plans and assessments. However, you must ensure that both address all the criteria outlined in Section 2013 of the act.

“The U.S. EPA recommends the use of standards, including AWWA J100-10 Risk and Resilience Management of Water and Wastewater Systems, along with tools from the U.S. EPA and other organizations, to facilitate sound risk and resilience assessments and emergency response plans.”

We can help!

Parametrix can help you develop a Risk and Resilience Assessment and Emergency Response Plan. Learn more about the services we offer on our website. Please reach out using the contact information below if you have any questions.

About the Authors

JC Hungerford is a civil engineer with 14 years of experience specializing in water and wastewater distribution and facility planning. JC serves as Parametrix’s Puget Sound Water Division Manager and is based out of Puyallup, WA.

Jen Murphy is passionate about the water industry and helping clients do more with less. She has 15 years of construction and engineering consulting experience with the last decade focused on water infrastructure. Jen serves as Parametrix’s Oregon Water Division Manager and is based out of Portland, OR.

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