Taking proactive steps to protect the nation’s drinking water supply through robust investments in water security, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that it is providing $12 million to New York City to help it develop and evaluate a drinking water contamination warning system for its drinking water supply.
The pilot project, called the Water Security Initiative, is expected to have broad application for the nation’s drinking water utilities. The announcement was made by EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at a ceremony at City Hall. They were joined by EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg and New York City Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Emily Lloyd.
"The challenge of protecting our nation's drinking water systems is not just an EPA challenge, a state challenge or a New York City challenge...it's everyone's challenge," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "Through technology, innovation and collaboration, we can provide clean, safe water for every American."
“New York’s drinking water is the lifeblood of our city and creating new ways to enhance the protection of our water system is important to keeping New Yorkers safe,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “After 9/11, our city increased security and police patrols of our water system and enhanced our water quality monitoring system. I’d like to thank EPA Administrator Johnson for selecting New York City for this pilot program which will help us build on the steps we have already taken to ensure our city has a clean, reliable water supply.”
While specific details about the system can’t be divulged for security reasons, the contamination warning system to be installed and evaluated by New York City involves online water quality monitoring, public health surveillance, sampling and analysis, enhanced security monitoring and consumer complaint surveillance. In addition, the warning system is designed to be sustainable for long-term operation and to even improve water quality management.
EPA established its water security initiative in response to President Bush’s homeland security directive to develop robust, comprehensive and fully coordinated surveillance and monitoring systems for water quality that provide early detection and awareness of disease, pest or poisonous agents.