Presentation on theme: "Utilities Helping Utilities: A Mutual Aid and Assistance Network for Water and Wastewater Utilities in Maryland Stephen C. Gerwin, PE Howard County DPW."— Presentation transcript:
Utilities Helping Utilities: A Mutual Aid and Assistance Network for Water and Wastewater Utilities in Maryland Stephen C. Gerwin, PE Howard County DPW
Who and What is WARN? Water & Wastewater Agencies Response Network Network of utilities helping utilities. United by common “enemies” –Natural disasters –Human-caused disasters Not a corporation or a government unit Utilities organized within a state –By agreement –To help each other with personnel and resources
Why the Pause in a MDWARN The Chair Retired From WSSC 12/31 and started a new job with Howard County Bureau of Utilities 1/7 Took time to convince Howard County the benefits to smaller counties But here we are and ready to go!
Why Consider a WARN? Past disaster response & lessons learned tell us: –Utility operations are specialized when assistance is needed utilities require specialized skills, certified operators and unique equipment. Utilities must be self sufficient to sustain operations. –Utilities must fill the gap between disaster onset and arrival of other government aid. FEMA has “muscles” but it is far from agile.
Why Consider a WARN? Past lessons learned continued… –Maintenance of service of basic utility needs is essential: Government response agencies rely on the utility – fire fighting, sanitation at hospitals, etc… Safe and reliable water and sanitation facilities are essential to provide hope and confidence in the midst of a disaster. –Disasters can quickly overwhelm a utility: The local workforce and contractor pool is insufficient or unavailable. Large events impact regional areas, making response from nearby utilities impractical Disasters impact utility employees and their families, creating greater need for relief.
Why Consider a WARN? Past lessons learned continued… –Federal initiatives support/promote intrastate cooperative agreements: Homeland Security Presidential Directives –Management of Domestic Incidents – NIMS and NRP. –Critical infrastructure Protection –National Preparedness Goal Federal disaster relief funding: –Agreements must be established pre-event for federal reimbursement
How is a WARN Different from a Statewide MA Program? –Statewide mutual aid agreements (MAA) typically require a declaration of a “local emergency” to activate the agreement – WARN agreements don’t require the actual declaration thereby saving critical response time. –Statewide MAA programs do not typically include private utilities, WARN agreements do. –For aid to flow across state lines coordination with state agencies is needed and facilitated by an EMAC in coordination with the National Response Plan – The WARN agreement can more easily facilitate cross state line assistance.
History on the WARN Program Started in California in the Early 1990’s –The beginning was the Utility Policy Committee (UPC) established in 1952 – created mutual aid between utilities. –Various disasters (fire, earthquake, mudslides, freezes) and lessons learned from these disasters resulted in an evolution of the UPC to CalWARN –It included utilities small and large, both water and wastewater, state regulatory and resources agencies, and associations.
History on the WARN Program Florida and Texas have since implemented their own statewide WARN programs: –FlaWARN – 168 utility members and 9 association members from across Florida. –TxWARN – Implemented after the 2005 hurricane season. Currently ½ of the States have a WARN
Water Sector Initiatives Supporting the Development of WARNs Joint Policy Statement –8 major water organizations –Encourages the creation of intrastate mutual aid & assistance networks –Provides for greater water sector resiliency against natural or manmade incidents
Key Points About a WARN Program One utility helping another based on a written agreement. Assistance is provided across jurisdictional boundaries. Participation is voluntary – No obligation to respond. No cost to participate. The WARN system increases emergency preparedness and cooperation.
More Key Points About a WARN Program A WARN System provides a utility access to heavy equipment tools and supplies used during normal events/operations
More Key Points About a WARN Program WARN expedites the arrival of aid. Program is patterned after private power company programs. A single agreement to access resources statewide. Indemnification and worker compensation provisions (just like MAA) to protect participating utilities. Deployed resources remain under the authority of the sending agency and can be recalled at any time.
More Key Points About a WARN Program The Mutual Aid Agreement Covers: –Response procedures Damage, needs, response plan and timing, supervision authority, housing and food provisions, communications, and NIMS/ICS Clear agreed upon process –Reimbursable expenses: Process for reimbursement or arbitration –Insurance and Indemnification
Considerations for Federally Declared Disasters WARN program addresses the key aspects for FEMA reimbursement. These are: √The assistance is requested by the applicant. √The work performed is directly related to the disaster and is otherwise eligible for FEMA reimbursement. √The entity can provide documentation of rates and payments for services, if requested. √The agreement is written and in effect prior to disaster.
Next Steps Marylandize National WARN – Tracey Develop interested utilities – 32 so far Draft Operations Plan – 95% Develop resource date scheme -85% Establish web based process