City working on water utility assessment, emergency plan to comply with 2018 federal law

In 2018, Congress passed the America’s Water Infrastructure Act, that was signed into law, and requires community drinking water systems that serve more than 3,300 people to complete a risk and resilience assessment by Dec. 31, 2020 and develop an emergency response plan by June 30, 2021 for their water utility.

The plans must be certified by the community water system and reported to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to comply with the law. More information on the law and required assessment and plan is available here.

The City of Great Falls water system serves 22,150 customers and is required to comply with the federal law.

To conduct the assessment and develop the plan, Morrison-Maierle, Inc. has been selected, in accordance with the city’s Architect, Engineer and Surveyor Selection Policy to provider professional services.

During the July 7 meeting, City Commissioners will be asked to approve the $125,326 agreement with Morrison-Maierle. Funding is available from the city’s water fund, according to city staff.

The assessment will evaluate information regarding the city’s water utility and emergency response processes in place currently.

“Any gaps or deficiencies in preparedness and security discovered as result of this certified assessment will be addressed in the emergency response plan,” according to the city staff report. The plan “will establish the processes and standards to improve the resilience of the water system and protect the water utility from malevolent acts and natural hazards. It will also strengthen cyber, distribution and financial security, and protect and identify source water options.”

Under the agreement, the consultants will provide the following services:

  • Risk and Resilience Assessment
    • Project initiation and project management
    • Risk and resilience kickoff meeting
    • Asset and threat characterization
    • Consequence and vulnerability analysis
    • Treat likelihood analysis
    • Risk and resilience analysis
    • Cyber/business continuity risk and resilience assessment
    • Risk and resilience management
    • Risk assessment and recommendations report
  • Emergency Response Plan
    • Project initiation and project management
    • Emergency response plan kickoff meeting
    • Response planning
    • Identify and integrate local plans
    • Update an existing ERP