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The Water Laboratory Alliance Celebrates 10 Years of Water Sector Preparedness

This week EPA hosted its 6th Water Laboratory Alliance (WLA) Security Summit. The Summit this year celebrated 10 years of collaboration and water sector preparedness. This year’s Summit was held in Region 4 in Atlanta and brought in drinking water utilities, state and local laboratories, and the emergency response, public information and first responder communities from across the country.

The first day of the Summit gave hands-on training through a table top exercise focused around responding to a contamination event during a natural disaster. Participants used EPA tools, such as the Water Contaminant Information Tool (WCIT), to aid in response.

The second day of the Summit gave participants a chance to hear from a panel of State Laboratories on contaminants of emerging concern, hurricanes, and general lessons learned to enhance preparedness. PFAS and HABs were frequently mentioned as some of the biggest contaminant concerns for the Region 4 states on the panel. The key takeaway message of the Summit and panel was the importance of networking and communication prior to a contamination event or natural disaster to improve preparedness.