Security and Emergency Preparedness

Public Water System Security Overview

Security and Emergency Notification

Pandemic Influenza Planning

Water/Wastewater Emergency Response Network "Utilities Helping Utilities"

National Incident Management System/Incident Command System

Emergency Response Planning Resources


Public Water System Security Overview

All public water systems in Maine should prepare and implement or update existing emergency and security plans to include foreseeable and unforeseeable disturbances relating to production and supply of safe drinking water.

Emergency situations include, but are not limited to the following situations:

  • A failure or significant interruption in the production of drinking water
  • A natural disaster that disrupts the water supply
  • A chemical spill or biological substance introduced into the water source, that increases the potential for contamination
  • The failure of cross connections
  • Intentional physical intrusions of the water system
  • Any other activity that disturbs the production and supply of safe drinking water

All public water systems serving more than 3,300 persons are required by the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Response Act of 2002 to complete Vulnerability Assessments and develop or revise Emergency Response Plans. All public water systems included in this requirement must make the Emergency Response Plans available for inspection by Drinking Water Program staff upon request.

Emergency Response Plans must include, but not by way of limitation, the following information to be utilized in the event of a terrorist or other intentional act perpetrated against the public water system:

  • Actions, plans, procedures and equipment to be utilized to lessen the impact of the intentional act
  • Emergency contact information
  • Any other information deemed necessary to deal with the emergency

For more Security and Emergency Preparedness Information:

DWP Security and Emergency Preparedness contact: Sara Flanagan (207) 287-5678 or

Public Water System Emergency Response Plan Handbook

Security and Emergency Notification

Security Breaches and Emergency Notification Requirements (State of Maine Rules Relating to Drinking Water):

  • All public water systems reporting security breaches, tampering events or other emergencies affecting water system components to law enforcement must report the incidents to the Department
  • All Public Utilities Commission (PUC)-regulated water systems reporting security-related incidents to law enforcement agencies must report such incidents to both the Department and the PUC
  • All public water systems experiencing emergency events involving biological or chemical contamination of water system components must report said events to the Department

Pandemic Influenza Planning

In addition to emergency and security plans, water systems should prepare and implement or update existing pandemic influenza plans. Utilities that fail to prepare for such a prolonged catastrophic event may find themselves without the staff, equipment, or supplies necessary to continue providing safe drinking water for their community. Pandemic influenza plans should:

  • Identify essential functions, services, processes, critical staffing needs, and interdependent relationships
  • Assess supply chains and coordinate with vendors
  • Develop a communications strategy
  • Work with community pandemic planners such as your municipality and County Emergency Management Agency

Department of Homeland Security Pandemic Influenza Preparedness, Response and Recovery Guide for Water Systems

EPA’s Pandemic Flu Planning for the Water Sector

For more influenza updates, please visit:


Maine CDC

Water/Wastewater Emergency Response Network
“Utilities Helping Utilities”

Consider joining the Water/Wastewater Emergency Response Network (WARN). The WARN allows water systems to receive rapid mutual aid and assistance from other water systems in Maine to restore services damaged by natural or man-made incidents. Water systems sign the WARN standard agreement, which then allows them to share resources with any other system in Maine that has also signed the standard agreement. Participation is voluntary, and is not mandated by any local, state, or federal regulation.

Benefits of joining the WARN include:

  • No cost and no commitment
  • Eligibility for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster reimbursement
  • Developed, managed, and run by water and wastewater systems
  • Timely access to resources
  • Access to database of utilities and resources
  • Both private and public utilities may participate

For more information visit

National Incident Management System/ Incident Command System  

The National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS) provide a systematic, proactive approach to guide departments and agencies at all levels of government, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to work seamlessly to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the effects of incidents, regardless of cause, size, location, or complexity, in order to reduce the loss of life and property and harm to the environment. All water systems are strongly encouraged to become NIMS/ICS compliant. All water system personnel should take IS-100.PWa and IS-700.a. Managers should also take IS-200.a and IS-800.b. To take free online ICS/NIMS training courses visit

Benefits of NIMS:

  • Strengthens response capabilities by following a nationally adopted, standard, flexible practice for emergency response
  • Improves mobilization, deployment, utilization, tracking, and demobilization of needed resources
  • Establishes protocols for improved communication with other first responders and support personnel
  • Reduces the time delay to access mutual aid and assistance resources
  • Allows integration with other local and state emergency response agencies

For more information visit