Emergency Planning, Response, and Recovery

March 2015 • Volume 27 • Number 3

Water Environment Federation, 601 Wythe Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, 2013, 282 pp., $99, paperback, ISBN: 978-1-57278-274-7.

Under the direction of the Safety, Occupational Health, and Security Subcommittee of the Technical Practice Committee of the Water Environment Federation, the chairman and 37 task force colleagues prepared this important reference book to help utilities worldwide develop their emergency response plans to recover from such events as infrastructure failure, small- and large-scale natural disasters, and human-created incidents.

This book has five chapters — all written by experts. Although the chapters have different authors, the technical presentation style is the same. Inclusion of a case history chapter and a glossary section is a big plus for the benefit of the readers. Because the U.S. customary units and the International SI units are both used side-by-side throughout the book, it is suitable for international audiences.

The primary audiences for the contents are water, wastewater, electric, and gas utility managers; operators; consulting engineers; emergency response planners and professionals; and public officials. The book is designed to address the key elements of emergency planning including regulatory requirements and how to recover from emergencies.

Nearly all large wastewater utilities have disaster and emergency planning documents for their facilities in place. The publication of this book may not be as essential for facilities that treat more than 18,900 m3/d (5 mgd), but may be quite useful for the medium- and small-scale wastewater utilities — 18,900 m3/d (5 mgd) or below — that have had no budget for hiring environmental consulting engineers to prepare their emergency plans.

Large wastewater utility managers (with professional engineers) may read this book for further improvement of their existing emergency plans. The medium and small wastewater utility managers (without professional engineers) would need assistance for their emergency plan preparation. This book may be further improved by inclusion of several emergency plan templates for different types of wastewater utilities.

Another suggested area of improvement is to explain the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA). For homeland security reasons, most (if not all) of wastewater utilities keep their prepared emergency plans secret. However, almost all universities/colleges announce their emergency plans on the Internet according to EPCRA. Future considerations may include deliberation of a nonsensitive portion of the wastewater utility’s emergency plan for public release because the community has a right to know.

Lawrence K. Wang and Mu-Hao S. Wang are professors and consultants at the Lenox Institute of Technology (Newtonville, N.Y.).

•••

Return to the March 2015 issue of WE&T