Water Quality Division: Safe Drinking Water: Emergency Preparedness and Response

There are many things that can impact how a water system manages its resources and actions. In Arizona we have seen disruptions to drinking water service from a consistent summertime threat, wildfires. Fires, floods and other disasters may cause water systems to confront hard realities and force tough decisions.

Emergency Operations Plan

A.A.C. R18-4-204 requires all community water systems, regardless of size, to develop and maintain an Emergency Operations Plan which details physical and technical aspects of water systems operation, such as maintaining proper water pressure, collapse of a major structure or loss of mechanical components like pumps or valves. The emergency operations plan should also address public notice and alternate water supplies.

Vulnerability Assessments

The federal Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act requires every community water system that serves a population of greater than 3,300 people to conduct a vulnerability assessment to identify areas and processes within a water system that could be vulnerable to attack, sabotage or disruption.

Vulnerability assessments are voluntary for systems serving 3,300 or less people. However, ADEQ encourages all water systems to use this document to review their vulnerabilities.

Emergency Response Plans

Community water systems that serve more than 3,300 people use their completed vulnerability assessments to compile an emergency response plan, which is different from the emergency operations plan described above.

The emergency operations plan is a starting point for an emergency response plan. The emergency response plan should contain all of the information required in an emergency operations plan but provide greater detail regarding the potential problems the water system may face. The emergency response plan includes information about other agencies that must be notified including, law enforcement, public health officials, and firefighters.

Operation and Maintenance Manual

An Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Manual is a baseline tool for a facility that describes:

  • System Characteristics
  • Distribution System (including Maintenance and Sampling)
  • Start-Up Procedure, and
  • Emergency Operations Plans.

This tool gives facility operator(s) and manager(s) instructions, log sheet samples, and technical information for efficient and safe operation of a facility during normal operations or during an unplanned/emergency situation. An O&M Manual may also be used by emergency responders for reference regarding such items as chemical storage and fire flow capabilities.

Creating your O&M Manual will be much easier using this “electronic” template which allows you to insert your system’s specific information in the spaces and tables provided. The template may also be printed and completed by hand using Appendix 14: Instructions for Template.

This template is divided into four main sections:

  • System Characteristics
  • Distribution System
  • Start-Up Procedure
  • Emergency Operations Plan.
Email azopcert@azdeq.gov with any questions regarding this template.

Directions to Unprotect and Protect the Template for Microsoft 2010 - Modified

ADEQ Operation & Maintenance Manual Official Version

See Also:

For more information, please contact ADEQ's operator certification section.