Drinking Water Safety in Emergencies
Following natural disasters and other types of emergencies, drinking water in affected areas may become contaminated and cause outbreaks of disease. Problems with sanitation, including lack of water, toilet facilities, or damaged water wells can also increase the likelihood of waterborne disease.
People are already suffering from the effects of a disaster, so it is important that the water they drink is safe. This is particularly important for infants, pregnant women, the elderly and those with health problems, who may face a greater risk from waterborne disease. In communities impacted by an emergency, public health officials will heighten their watch for new waterborne disease risks caused by the disaster.
While an attack by foreign terrorists may be unlikely, home grown terrorists and ordinary vandals are a threat to the safety of drinking water. Security Vulnerability Assessment is not only a good idea, but a federal mandate if the public water system serves at least 3,300 people.