EPA to Update WHEAT Software

Last year, EPA and its partners finalized the Water Health and Economic Analysis Tool (WHEAT) software for drinking water utilities, which is available free of charge on EPA’s website at http://yosemite.epa.gov/ow/SReg.nsf/description/WHEAT.

WHEAT is a generalized (threat neutral) consequence analysis tool that can assist in quantifying human health and economic consequences for a variety of threat scenarios that pose a significant risk to the water sector. EPA designed WHEAT to be used by utility owners and operators to supplement their expert opinion in risk assessment methods by providing more detailed consequence analysis.

Currently, WHEAT allows for the analysis of two types of scenarios for drinking water systems: 1) a hazardous gas release; and 2) the loss of operating assets. WHEAT helps utilities to better understand and quantify the public health and economic consequences of potential incidents. After several pilot projects, EPA’s Water Security Division is undertaking a WHEAT software update that should be ready for demonstration in beta version by March 2012. EPA is also aggressively moving forward on developing a drinking water contamination module framework for WHEAT and will be seeking input on the framework and eventually on the beta version of the contamination module software.

Lastly, EPA has been consulting with DHS on a project they are developing through the National Institute for Hometown Security at Western Kentucky University. The University is developing their water sector Economic Consequence Assessment Tool (ECAT) (http://www.thenihs.org/node/314). EPA is working with DHS and the University to better understand how WHEAT and ECAT can complement each other to eliminate any possibility of duplicative efforts.

Please contact John DeGour of EPA’s Water Security Division at DeGour.John@epa.gov if you have any questions.