News Briefs: White House Announces Water/Wastewater Cybersecurity Initiative

Also in this week's sewer and water news, a California city is one step closer to winning its 10-year lawsuit against the U.S. subsidiary of a Chilean fertilizer manufacturer for contaminating its drinking water

The White House in partnership with Environmental Protection Agency, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and the Water Sector Coordinating Council recently announced it will extend the Industrial Control Systems (ICS) Cybersecurity Initiative to the water sector with a Water and Wastewater Sector Action Plan.

The action plan outlines actions that will take place over the next 100 days to improve the cybersecurity of the sector.

According to a White House fact sheet, the federal government has limited authorities to set cybersecurity baselines for critical infrastructure, and managing this risk requires partnership with the private sector and municipal owners and operators of that infrastructure.

The Water and Wastewater Sector Action Plan focuses on promoting and supporting the water sector’s adoption of strategies for the early detection of cyber threats and allow for the rapid sharing of cyber-threat data across the government in order to expedite analysis and action. Actions include: establishing a task force of water sector leaders; implementing pilot projects to demonstrate and accelerate adoption of incident monitoring; improving information sharing and data analysis; and providing technical support to water systems.

For more information, see the fact sheet here.

City of Pomona Water Contamination Verdict Upheld by Federal Judge

The City of Pomona, California, is one step closer to winning its 10-year lawsuit against the U.S. subsidiary of a Chilean fertilizer manufacturer for contaminating the city’s drinking water. The defendant had sold Chilean fertilizer used in the area’s citrus orchards which contained a toxic chemical, perchlorate.

After three trials, a federal jury in Los Angeles in September awarded Pomona $48 million to pay for the damage from the presence of perchlorate in the city’s drinking water. And recently, U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner denied the request of the defendant, the U.S. subsidiary of Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile for a new trial. The judge said the jury’s liability finding was supported by the evidence and that the damages awarded by the jury were not excessive.

Ken Sansone, of SL Environment Law Group, who represented the City of Pomona at trial, said they were pleased with the ruling. “It is time for the company that caused the contamination to pay to clean up the mess it made. The City of Pomona is to be commended for fighting for over a decade to make sure that the polluters, not the taxpayers of Pomona, pay to clean up the perchlorate in the drinking water and that Pomona’s citizens have clean and healthy water to drink.”

Xylem Clocks 113,000 Volunteer Hours in 2021 to Tackle Water Challenges in 55 Countries

In other news, global water technology company, Xylem recently announced that almost 80% of its 16,000 employees volunteered their time to help solve urgent water challenges in 2021. Xylem’s global team collectively donated 113,000 hours in their communities, across 55 countries.

The commitment of volunteer hours doubled from 2020 to 2021, despite the challenges of COVID-19. Xylem employees stepped up both in person, in their own communities, and virtually, finding new ways to make a difference. Initiatives included cleaning up waterways, supporting disaster response teams, and providing water education.

“Volunteering is one way we invest in our mission to solve the world’s biggest water challenges,” says Austin Alexander, vice president of sustainability and social impact at Xylem. “Our colleagues, customers and NGO partners showed real passion, last year – doubling the number of hours they volunteered, compared with 2020.”


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.