Drinking Water

Drinking water utilities today find themselves facing new responsibilities. While their mission has always been to deliver a dependable and safe supply of water to their customers, the challenges inherent in achieving that mission have expanded to include security and counter-terrorism. In the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, Congress recognizes the need for drinking water systems to undertake a more comprehensive view of water safety and security. The Act amends the Safe Drinking Water Act and specifies actions community water systems and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must take to improve the security of the nation's drinking water infrastructure.

To review copies of these laws:

The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act (see Title IV)

The Safe Drinking Water Act


SDWARN is a utility created and driven mutual aid/assistance program. It is a means of receiving help from and giving help to neighboring water/wastewater utilities when responding to and/or recovering from an emergency. This is a tool member utilities can use when the inevitable flood, ice storm, blizzard, fire or even a human-caused event occurs. While we all hope these never occur, WARN is an insurance policy in case they do occur and a utility needs assistance in response and recovery activities. The WARN fact sheet provides answers that you may have.

To become a member of South Dakota WARN, a signed Mutual Aid Agreement must be submitted to the statewide committee chairman, Brad Lawrence. The mutual aid agreement means to address the administrative and legal issues prior to an event/disaster so focus can be completely on response and recovery. To become a member, water/wastewater utility representatives must sign the agreement as it is.

Guidance and Manuals

  • EPAs Emergency/Incidence Planning, Response and Recovery website provides numerous reference documents including emergency response guidances for small and large water systems, planning for an emergency drinking water supply, pandemic planning, top 10 list for small GW systems protect themselves, message mapping and containment and disposal of large amounts of contaminated water.

  • Natural disasters and other types of incidents can disrupt drinking water and wastewater systems. EPA provides information to water consumers, water and wastewater utilities, and private well and septic owners to help in emergency/incident response efforts.

Try these other sources for more information on drinking water security: