Water Supply Security (Archival Bulletin)

31 May Water Supply Security (Archival Bulletin)

TRI STATE ENFORCEMENT

OFFICE OF INTELLIGENCE

SITUATIONAL BULLETIN

**PREVIOUSLY RESTRICTED DISSEMINATION**

 

Subject: Chemical Release affecting WV water supplies: Emergency

Brief: On January 9, 2013 – In Kanawha County, WV near the state capital, there was an unknown quantity of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol that was released from a holding tank operated by Freedom Industries into the Elk River affecting drinking water. There was a Federal Emergency Declaration, as the chemical could not be filtered from the water, nor could water be boiled and made safe to drink. According to Fisher Scientific, this chemical was toxic to: ingest, inhale, or make skin contact. Hundreds of thousands of residents and businesses in at least nine WV counties were warned to not use any form of public (tap) water. This created a bottled water shortage, and caused a degree of civil unrest throughout the affected areas.

Actions: As TSE monitored this situation, it became apparent just how easy this could have been an act of terrorism. Water supply areas are very large and expansive, and even though in this instance, the chemical leaked directly into the river – the same outcome could have been reached even if it weren’t. If you know you are in a water supply area, or at or near any waterways, exercise increased situational awareness. If you see anything suspicious, immediately take necessary action by reporting you observations to the appropriate law enforcement agency, or 911 communications center. Based on our threat analysis and matrix – due to the national attention given to this event; terrorists may take great interest in this event. Terrorists have taken a great interest in the public utilities in recent years, and this may encourage their interest and intent even further. When consuming “tap” water, always inspect the water for the following: visual impurities, clarity, smell, separation, reactivity, and finally taste. If you suspect the water has been compromised, report it immediately, and without delay. Taking small steps towards simple preparedness is also vital. Less than 24 hours into the event, most all of the local stores were sold out of all their water and ice inventory. Preparedness is a vital part of personal and professional responsibility in today’s world. Ensure you have adequate supplies on hand for any disastrous events that occur – (e.g. one gallon of water per person – per day, canned foods, battery powered radio and flashlights, extra batteries, extra prescription medications, etc.)

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