Water systems security
There are more than 160,000 public water systems which provide safe and clean water to 317 million Americans. Disruption of these systems would likely bring the affected areas to a standstill, causing severe risks to health and safety as well as significant economic loss. For this reason, our federal government provides some protection for these facilities. Since 9/11, the EPA has been developing new security technologies to detect and monitor water contaminants. Law enforcement has been working on preventing security breaches at the reservoirs and watersheds which supply our water systems. Security advocates say that if contaminants can be detected early enough, they can be prevented from reaching consumers. If not, our water treatment plants must be able to quickly communicate warnings to their customers. Besides intentional releases, our water supplies can also be contaminated by naturally occurring chemicals and minerals such as radon, uranium and arsenic. Contamination from urban, factory and farm pollution are threats as well. However, advocates are most worried that our water systems may be vulnerable to sabotage. A while ago, the FBI arrested a Tunisian man who had plans to derail a Canadian train, and also had plans to kill 100,000 Americans by poisoning our air or water. Around the same time, Boston police arrested 5 men from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Singapore who were discovered trespassing one night at Quabbin Reservoir, the main source of water for Massachusetts. These men had recently graduated with degrees in chemical engineering but were released after police found no wrongdoing except trespassing. Although these incidents did not pose an imminent threat, they may indicate that those who wish us harm are aware of the vulnerability of our water systems.

Pending Legislation: None

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Poll Opening Date
March 26, 2020
Poll Closing Date
April 1, 2020

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