When it comes to water and wastewater, “risk” as a concept wasn’t standardized until surprisingly recently. Until around twenty years ago, acceptable levels of risk were by-and-large up to individual facility operators to determine. Amendments to the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 changed everything, establishing minimum standards for assessment and enforcement of water-related risk factors.
Water and wastewater treatment facilities have now been voluntarily performing risk assessments (also known as vulnerability assessments) for around two decades. Does your utility need training in water sector security and/or a comprehensive risk assessment?
The VSAT Tool
The EPA offers a robust risk assessment resource known in the industry as the VSAT, or Vulnerability Self-Assessment Tool. It is now web-enabled (updated regularly) and can be downloaded directly to a mobile device. VSAT software is designed to highlight the intrinsic risks of water and wastewater operations and enhance security through a series of prescribed actions.
The resource is designed for water and wastewater utilities of all sizes. It assesses risk for a number of man-made and natural hazards by utilizing quantitative resilience metrics, asset prioritization, and threat assessment capabilities.
Putting VSAT Resources to Good Use
Shield Engineering works regularly with water and wastewater utilities to facilitate comprehensive risk evaluations using the VSAT model. In addition to general risk assessment, Shield specializes in providing clients with guidance and recommendations concerning:
- Asset listing
- Threat development
- Countermeasure evaluation
- Cost risk analysis
- Improvement analysis
Shield's staff has years of experience with both utility operations and VSAT training and implementation. With proper instruction, well-trained staff can use VSAT guidelines to effectively monitor risk in-house, saving utilities significant time and cost long-term on everything from maintenance to inspections to liabilities.
Water Sector Safety Training Through Shield
How does Shield’s water sector security training work? Shield’s expert engineers and certified operators provide hands-on guidance throughout every step of the process to ensure full understanding of the VSAT tool. Training is customized to each facility’s specific risk factors and vulnerabilities. After training, Shield is always on-call to answer any ongoing questions.
Shield believes in the strategic management of risk. Steps to reducing risk within treatment facilities can include improved hazard awareness, staff skills training, and creating a culture of safety and security. By promoting accountability and empowering employees through teamwork, utility providers can drastically decrease the likelihood of an incident within their facilities.
Would you like to learn more about Shield’s experience in water sector security? Working with a utilities expert from day one can save your facility significant time and hassle down the line. Reach out today to speak to one of Shield’s knowledgeable team members about how we can decrease risk in your workplace.