News Briefs: Cyberspace Forum Highlights Security Vulnerabilities in Water Sector

Also in this week's sewer and water news, officials celebrate the end of a seven-year effort to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, as a new $13 million treatment facility is completed

Members of the National Cyberspace Solarium are putting water security in the spotlight after concerns surrounding the recent water system cybersecurity breach in Oldsmar, Florida.

At the fourth Hack the Capitol virtual event this month, Dr. Samantha Ravich said the Florida hack exposed critical vulnerabilities in the nation’s water infrastructure.

“The Oldsmar, Florida, attack in February, demonstrated a system with numerous basic cyber hygiene processes not being followed,” Ravich said, according to MeriTalk. “The ease with which an even inexperienced hacker could alter the performance of automated production chemical balancing systems. But this was a significant incident that almost occurred, it barely was avoided.”

New Hampshire Culminates 7-Year Effort With PFAS Treatment Facility

The high-water mark of a seven-year effort to deal with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, has been achieved as city leaders, Air Force officials and the state’s congressional delegation recently celebrated the completion of a $13 million water treatment facility.

The plant will treat contaminated water at Pease International Tradeport, which was linked to PFAS-containing firefighting foam from a former U.S. Air Force base.

“We’ve learned a lot, and unfortunately we’re not alone in the discovery of PFAS contamination,” Portsmouth’s deputy director of public works, Brian Goetz, said at the event, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader.

Operator Pleads Guilty to Clean Water Act Violations

In other news, an employee who managed the town of Matewan, West Virginia’s wastewater treatment plant has pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Water Act, according to WCHS News.

Court documents say the operator submitted false sludge management reports to the state’s Department of Environmental Protection.

The operator faces a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a $250,000 fine.


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