In a months-long collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), CFPUA tested new tools for utilities to rate their readiness for environmental and man-made hazards.
This summer, EPA asked CFPUA to participate as a case study for the Vulnerability Self-Assessment Tool (VSAT) and the Climate Resilience and Awareness Tool (CREAT).
VSAT evaluates utilities’ preparedness for storms, contamination, and other rapid-onset threats, helping them design strategies to address them. CREAT focuses on planning for the long-term effects of climate change, from increased coastal flooding to hotter conditions for staff in the field.
The tools also help utilities comply with America’s Water Infrastructure Act, passed by Congress in 2018.
In addition to biweekly phone calls and web-based collaboration, EPA visited CFPUA in September and November. During the process, CFPUA staff ran emergency scenarios through the tools, focusing especially on adapting to floods and drought and protecting water quality.
EPA is preparing a final report on CFPUA’s case study, which will also be used to help train utilities across the country. In November Lindsey Hallock, CFPUA’s Director of Public and Environmental Policy, hosted a webinar on the case study for more than 350 participants.
“This partnership with EPA was not only an opportunity to develop new strategies for handling acute and long-term threats to our systems; it was a great chance to showcase how well prepared CFPUA is already,” Hallock said.
“From emergency response planning to fuel supply redundancies, the Authority has undertaken numerous initiatives and capital projects meant to better prepare our system against the threats from environmental and man-made hazards. We look forward to continually evaluating our processes with VSAT and CREAT to identify ways to be even more resilient.”
CFPUA is one of a select few utilities chosen as a case study. Other participants have included: the City of Miami, Florida; the City of Norfolk, Virginia; the City of Atlanta, Georgia; and the City of Los Angeles Sanitation in California.
To learn more about the process and read other EPA case studies, visit http://ow.ly/D7bs50xe9V3.