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Emergency Perparedness for Water and Wastewater Facilities

This page is designed as a directory to many security related sites at the local, state and federal level.


Public water system personnel are strongly encouraged to review the COVID-19 preparation and response webpage here.

DEP 24/7 Contact Numbers

Public Water Systems should report to DEP within one (1) hour for Tier 1 violations/situations and Tier 2 violations involving an MCL, MRDL or TT violation (refer to Public Notification section for Tier definitions).

DEP Emergency Response Contact Numbers

Public Notification

The PN rule became effective on May 6, 2002 and was published in Chapter 109 in August 2002. PN requirements were revised to provide for different delivery deadlines of notices based on the persistence of the violations and the seriousness of any potential adverse health effects that may be involved. In 2009, DEP revised the PN Rule to improve the delivery of Tier 1 public notices and the planning requirements under the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) plan and Emergency Response Plan (ERP).

DEP Public Notification

Emergency Response Template

Emergency Response Plan Template for Water Suppliers (3800-FM-WSFR0300) - Water suppliers can use this template to address all emergency response plan elements required under Chapter 109.707 including new requirements that became effective May 9, 2009 when the PN revisions were published. This template includeseight sections. Print each section to get the entire template.

DEP Emergency Response Plan

EPA Water Security Site

EPA's site provides information to help drinking water and wastewater utilities: assess and reduce vulnerabilities to potential terrorist attacks, plan for and practice response to emergencies and incidents and develop new security technologies to detect and monitor contaminants and prevent security breaches.

EPA Water Security

Criminal History Record (CHR)

All applicants for a drinking water or wastewater operators certification are required to submit a copy of their Criminal History Record (CHR). The Pennsylvania State Police has established a web-based application called "Pennsylvania Access To Criminal History" (PATCH). Using this system, a requestor can apply for a criminal background check. The CHR must be obtained directly from the Pennsylvania State Police. The CHR report must be attached to the application and it must have been completed no more than 90 days prior to the date the applicant signs the application. If no CHR is found, the PSP will issue a form stating so. This form should be submitted with the application.

The PATCH system can also be used to obtain the CHR of another individual, such as a potential new employee.

PA State Police Criminal History Record

Mandatory Operator Security Course

All certified operators must complete the department's system security course "Securing Drinking Water and Wastewater Facilities" by the end of the operator's first full cycle that begins after 9 September 2010. The training is available in three formats: web-based (Course ID 2954), correspondence (Course ID 2953) and classroom (Course ID 2952). These are the only courses that fulfill the requirement. You only need to take one of the versions and only have to take the course once for the life of your license. The classroom and correspondence versions are worthfive contact hours. The web-based version is worth three and a half contact hours and is only available from EarthWise Academy.

DEP Continuing Education


The mission of the PA Water and Wastewater Agency Response Network (PaWARN) is to support and promote statewide emergency preparedness, disaster response and mutual aid assistance for public and private water and wastewater utilities for natural and human caused events in the Commonwealth.

Water and wastewater systems provide our communities with a life-sustaining resource that is of vital importance to maintaining public health, sanitation and safety. When water and wastewater services are interrupted for extended periods of time, a community's well-being quickly deteriorates. And without an adequate water supply, our communities are vulnerable to devastating fires. By restoring water and wastewater service in the most efficient manner possible, PaWARN provides renewed hope for fast recovery from such disasters.

PaWARN provides water and wastewater utilities with: A Mutual Aid Agreement and process for sharing emergency resources among water and wastewater agencies statewide. A mutual assistance program consistent with other statewide mutual aid and assistance programs and the National Incident Management System. The resources to respond and recover more quickly from a natural or human caused disaster. A forum for developing and maintaining emergency contacts and relationships.

Spill/Flood Alert Networks

Delaware Valley Early Warning System (EWS)

The Delaware Valley Early Warning System (EWS) is an integrated monitoring, notification, and communication system designed to provide advance warning of surface water contamination events in the Schuylkill and lower Delaware River watersheds. It covers Schuylkill, Montgomery, Bucks, Berks, Philadelphia, Northampton, Chester and Delaware counties.

Delaware Valley Early Warning System

The River Alert Information Network (RAIN)

The River Alert Information Network (RAIN) is a regional Source Water Protection (SWP) program that will implement a continuous on-line river monitoring system to better ensure the protection of public health and drinking water across the Western PA region covering the Allegheny, Monongahela, Youghiogheny and Ohio rivers.

The River Alert Information Network

The Susquehanna River Basin (SRBC)

The SRBC's mission is management of the water resources of the basin under comprehensive watershed management and planning principles. As a part of this mission, the SRBC manages the Susquehanna Flood Forecast and Warning System, which provides for early flood warnings to help save lives and reduce property damages. The SRBC also initiated the Remote Water Quality Monitoring Network (RWQMN). This monitoring network continuously measures and reports water quality conditions of smaller rivers and streams located in northern tier Pennsylvania and southern tier New York. The data helps agency officials track existing water quality conditions and any changes in them on an ongoing, real-time basis. Both tools can be accessed through SRBC's website:

The Susquehanna River Basin


AlertPA provides timely information to assist you in making informed decisions. AlertPA delivers emergency and weather alerts, health notifications, tax notifications, building alerts and updates to steer, guide and warn you through email, cell phone, pager and/or Smartphone/PDA messages. When an incident or emergency occurs, authorized senders will instantly notify you using AlertPA. AlertPA is your personal connection to real-time updates, instructions on where to go, what to do, or what not to do, who to report to and other important information.

Alert PA

ICS Training

Incident Command System (ICS) training can great increase a system's ability to plan for and respond to natural or manmade events at their facility. Incident, both large and small, are responded to in accordance with ICS principles. Understanding ICS principles will enable water system to match the response structure of other responding agencies, speak a "common language" and encourage communications with local responders before an incident occurs. It is recommended water system staff complete the following online courses:

  • IS-100.PWb Introduction to the Incident Command System for Public Works Personnel
  • IS-200.b (ICS 200) ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents
  • IS-700.a National Incident Management System (NIMS), An Introduction
  • FEMA NIMS Training

Regional Equipment Center

The 12th Regional Equipment Center (12th R.E.C.) is a non-profit organization created through Congressional legislation. The 12th R.E.C. provides municipalities and non-profit organizations with excess federal equipment on a temporary, short term or long term basis. It also can provide the opportunity to complete earth moving projects, to include: ball field construction, stream restoration, DEP revitalization, road slide cleanup and reconstruction. The 12th R.E.C. can provide: Qualified, highly trained equipment operators; Expert Assistance in selecting proper equipment to suit each individual project; and a certified Engineer that will analyze project plans & specifications

Regional Equipment Center