Water, Interrupted?

Immediate past chair Dave Filson, chair elect Rick Atterberry and EDEN Homeland Security project director Steve Cain attended an EPA meeting in Chicago. They had active roles as facilitators. 

Are municipalities, food processors, medical centers and other high volume water users prepared in the event of an interruption?  That’s the question the Chicago office of the Environmental Protection Agency is helping answer.

On November 17 representatives of those entities came together to hear presentations from the USEPA, Chicago Department of Water Management, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, Department of Homeland Security, Midwest Food Processors Association and Industry sources discuss the need for additional planning to address both interruption in delivery and water quality issues.

Attendees participated in small group discussions in the afternoon which were facilitated by EDEN representatives Dave Filson from Penn State, Steve Cain from Purdue and Rick Atterberry from the University of Illinois.  EDEN’s involvement in the event was organized by Dave Filson.

It is anticipated that additional sessions may be held building on the discussions at this first event.  For most attendees, water is a sole source commodity the supply of which they have little control.  All of the water for the City of Chicago, many suburbs and the large users located in the communities comes from Lake Michigan through two giant treatment facilities along the lakeshore, including one right on the downtown lakefront.  Because the water is drawn from the lake on a continuing basis, there is not a lot of storage of treated water built into the system which is one of several vulnerabilities discussed by participants.

Conference organizers were grateful that EDEN representatives acted as independent facilitators.

EDEN involvement with EPA was the direct result of EPA involvement in the EDEN Regional Food Protection Conference in Pennsylvania.  From that connection, the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) and EPA have both requested continued involvement from EDEN professionals with their agencies including training, planning and conferences.   

Regards, Virginia Morgan, EDEN Chair