Spokane: EPA pays for water system assessment

Staff report The Spokesman Review

Spokane, WA - 7/12/02 - The city of Spokane has been awarded $115,000 to assess its water system's vulnerability to terrorist attack.

The grant is part of $53 million that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is giving to large water utilities to study the safety of their water supplies.

The funds were appropriated in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.

"Consultants will go through the entire water system, and say, `We believe these are the following areas that are vulnerable to terrorist activities,"' said Frank Triplett, Spokane's water superintendent.

"They look from the well sources all the way to the customer," Triplett said.

Spokane already has taken steps to protect its water supply, including installing alarms at its water facilities, he said.

All told, the utility serves 66,000 residences and businesses, including the entire city of Spokane and several outlying areas.

Spokane's water supply isn't as inherently vulnerable as other communities, Triplett said. Cities such as Los Angeles, which is served by surface water, face greater risk because their entire system can be knocked out at once, he said.

Even so, Spokane's water utility is fortunate to be an EPA grant recipient, he said.

"We're excited to have the experts from the outside take a look at it," Triplett said.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml]