AMSA Testifies at House Subcommittee Hearing on Water Security, 10/10/01

Clean Water Advocacy - News Releases - October 10, 2001

For Immediate Release: October 10, 2001
Contact: Adam Krantz, 202/833-4651, AMSA

AMSA Testifies at House Subcommittee Hearing on Water Security

In testimony on the security of the nation's water resources before the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment today, the Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies (AMSA) asserts that wastewater utilities are indeed vulnerable to terrorist attacks but that AMSA has taken and will continue to take decisive steps towards ensuring the security of the nation's wastewater utilities.

AMSA is the sole representative of the nation's publicly owned wastewater utilities, with a membership numbering over 260. AMSA members serve the majority of the sewered population in the United States, are environmental practitioners dedicated to protecting and improving the nation's waters and public health, and collectively treat and reclaim over 18 billion gallons of wastewater every day. The Environmental Protection Agency, Congress, states and industry often look to AMSA for technical insight on a wide range of clean water issues, including water utility security.

At today's hearing, titled Terrorism: Are America's Water Resources and Environment at Risk?, Patrick T. Karney, an AMSA member and Director of the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati, Ohio, testifying on behalf of AMSA, responds that, "yes, America's wastewater utilities, water resources and the environment are at risk from future terrorist attacks," adding, "The events of the past month have revealed how little our industry knows about the unique risks posed by terrorist threats and how we can better prepare ourselves for an uncertain future."

Karney, however, points both to his own utility's and AMSA's response to the Sept. 11 attacks as exemplifying the direction the nation's utilities must take to ensure security. Karney states that "[i]mmediately following the events of September 11, AMSA's Board of Directors took decisive action to support wastewater utilities nationwide as they strengthened their systems against terrorist threats. An AMSA Water Infrastructure Task Force was formed; funds were allocated to immediately begin exploration of publicly owned treatment works' (POTW) security needs and to identify tools and initiatives to support enhanced security. . ." Additionally, AMSA established itself as a link between the FBI-affiliated National Infrastructure Protection Center and its member utilities to ensure the swift distribution of FBI advisories and other key information regarding terrorist threats or incidents. Karney also points out to Members of the Subcommittee that cities will need help with vulnerability assessments and response plans, saying, "Such essential undertakings to ensure the security of our nation's aging infrastructure project will require federal support."

AMSA's Executive Director Ken Kirk adds, "We will in the short-term develop a critical wastewater utility ‘checklist' that will allow utilities to focus on their particular vulnerabilities and then focus our resources and efforts to the critical task of upgrading and enhancing wastewater infrastructure security at vulnerable sites. Given our members' strong responses, I am confident that wastewater utility security will be a model example for other critical infrastructures."

AMSA's testimony can be downloaded at

1816 Jefferson Place, Washington, DC 20036-2505 • 202.833.AMSA • 202.833.4657 FAX