WEF and Its Members Provide Assistance to Utilities Affected by Hurricane Sandy
On Nov. 2, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson contacted WEF Executive Director Jeff Eger and requested help in identifying individuals and agencies that might be able to provide technical and operational assistance to water utilities impacted by Hurricane Sandy. As widely reported, communities in New Jersey, New York, and other mid-Atlantic and Northeast states have suffered significant damage and interruption of service. WEF staff and volunteers have been working to help with coordination of equipment needs and also to identify options for solids management for affected systems in northern New Jersey. Over the weekend WEF staff and volunteers tapped into WEF’s member network to examine options including identifying treatment plants that could receive solids and potential mobile dewatering systems. The response from members and utilities has been immediate with members responding and participating in conference calls and outreach over the weekend.
Damage assessments are ongoing and additional needs may be identified. WEF will be reaching out to its membership as more needs are identified.
In addition to the request to WEF from EPA, the Pennsylvania WEA has responded to a request from NJDEP and reached out to its membership to identify facilities able to receive solids or raw wastewater to provide capacity while systems affected by the Hurricane are repaired.
Assistance requests also are being identified through the Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (WARN), which was established to coordinate assistance within the water utility sector during emergencies. The WARN website identifies likely assistance needs and also includes state-by-state updates about Hurricane Sandy impacts and needs throughout the impact area. Utilities will also find helpful information from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as the Water Information Sharing and Analysis Center (email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (866) H2O-ISAC, ext. 3). Updates also are available from the EPA.
The Nov. 2 edition of This Week in Washington includes a digest of Sandy-related news coverage.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, WEF commends the efforts of all the heroes working to save lives and property and restore the infrastructure system, including power, transportation, and water and wastewater service. Please support their efforts and help hurricane victims by contributing to the American Red Cross or visiting the Federal Emergency Management Agency to see what you can do.