EPA to Issue Guidance on AWIA Risk and Resilience Assessments and Emergency Plans

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Trey Shanks

Environmental Scientist

Note: This is the third part in a series about the AWIA of 2018. Read the first and second parts here and here.

The clock is ticking for U.S. water systems to comply with the American Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 requirements for Risk and Resilience Assessments and Emergency Response Planning.

Compliance deadlines begin in March 2020 for water utilities to assess infrastructure risks from natural and man-made hazards and to develop plans for improved resilience and emergency response against those risks.

The U.S. EPA confirmed today that on Aug. 1 it will issue additional support guidance for the development of the risk and resilience assessment and the emergency response plan update. In particular, EPA will release:

  • Baseline threat documentation for water utilities reference use
  • Updated VSAT online tool
  • Emergency response plan guidance
  • Technical assistance summary guidance
  • Instructions for online submission of compliance certification to EPA

Large utilities are recommended to initial the Risk and Resilience Assessment as soon as possible to meet the March 31, 2020 compliance deadline. Medium and Small utilities are recommended to begin preparations by allocating budget and resources over the next nine to 18 months, respectively.

Not sure where to start?

The first step is creating a Risk and Resilience Assessment, which should examine all hazards and probabilities of occurrences to critical assets at risk. It should also develop a management plan to mitigate those risks. We’ll discuss that more in our next blog post.

How Freese and Nichols Can Help You

Freese and Nichols’ approach can help you go beyond compliance to get the best value for your water-infrastructure assets. Our team of water and wastewater engineers has extensive experience developing Vulnerability Assessments, Risk Management Plans and Evaluations, and Resilience Programs for many water utilities from less than 3,000 to more than a million. Our team can help you successfully complete your Risk and Resilience Assessment and develop or update your Emergency Response Plan.


Our team will be happy to help if you have any further questions. Here’s whom you can reach out to.

Central Texas Stephanie Nieses, PE

North Texas Scott Cole, PE, or Rusty Gibson, PE

Southeast Texas David Munn, PE

Georgia Trooper Smith, PE

North Carolina Brian White, PE

Oklahoma Clay Herndon, PE

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Trey Shanks, CFM, IAM, leads Freese and Nichols’ Asset Management services. He is a Principal in our Fort Worth office. trey.shanks@freese.com