United States
Environmental Protection
                                    Office of Water
                                    Washington, DC 20460
EPA 800-F-98-001
September 1998
            Year 200
             Fact Sheet
                                            is the problem?  Most people have
                                            heard that a major computer problem
                                            is on the horizon for January 1 , 2000.
                                            The issue is called Year 2000, Y2K,
                                            or the "Millennium Bug."

                                            Many computerized functions require
                                            recognition of a specific year, day and
                                            time, but most computers and
                                            computerized equipment recognize
                                            only the last two digits of a year's date
                                            (i.e. 1998 is 98; 2000  is 00.)

Therefore, when the calendar changes to the year 2000,  many computers and
equipment with embedded computer chips will have difficulty interpreting the correct
date;  they may interpret the year to be 1 900 or some other year.

A number of things are likely to happen:  some computers and equipment will "crash";
others will operate erroneously; others may simply stop and need  to be restarted; some
may create data that looks correct but in reality contains errors; and some may
continue to operate correctly.

WHY is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concerned?  EPA's mission
      includes helping to assure safe and clean water for all Americans. EPA does this
by providing technical assistance as well as other kinds of help to  drinking water and
wastewater treatment plants, which are owned and operated by local government or
private utility companies.

Many of these plants operate with some level of computerization.  Thus, monitoring,
operations and maintenance, communications, laboratory analysis and  reporting are
areas that should be assessed for potential Year 2000 computer-related problems.
These types of problems could lead to permit violations.

EPA is helping local  government and  private utilities become aware of this potential
problem. It is important that utilities have an opportunity to make changes or
contingency plans that allow for "business as usual" on January 1 , 2000 and that these
utilities continue to protect public health and the environment.
      is action needed? Time is running short. Action is required now.
If you are a drinking water or wastewater treatment plant owner or operator, you should
be aggressively acting now to protect your system from computer caused failures on
January 1 , 2000.

       should a utility address this problem?  EPA recommends a six step approach to
       help ensure normal operations on January 1, 2000.

AWARENESS - As Soon As Possible
      First, owners and operators of drinking water and wastewater treatment plants,
      and equipment manufacturers, communications and energy providers that
      support them need to be made aware that the problem is pending. EPA is
      working to distribute information through fact sheets, newsletters, conferences
      and other channels, and invites others to help. Owners and operators may wish
      to prepare for customer inquiries about the situation and what steps are being
      taken to ensure continued high quality drinking water and wastewater.

ASSESSMENT - As Soon As  Possible
      Assessing the extent of the problem is the next step. Owners and operators
      should locate and list all computerized equipment and equipment with embedded
      computer chips in their systems and determine which are vulnerable. To begin
      assessments, they can refer to equipment owners manuals and equipment
      manufacturers, plus a general EPA checklist of potential trouble,spots, available
      at                        '

CORRECTION - by 6/30/99
      Once the problem areas have been identified, correction of the systems should
      occur.  This can involve modification, repair or replacement of systems or
      components. There are diagnostic programs available as well as consulting
      firms and computer specialists that can assist in making the necessary
      corrections. Some of this information is also available on Year 2000 Websites.

CONTINGENCY PLANS -  Draft by 6/30/99: Final by 9/30/99
      As a back up measure, all systems should have a contingency plan to deal with
      unforseen problems and emergencies. Among other things, these plans should
      address how systems would be manually operated until the computerization
      problems are resolved. These plans should be developed simultaneously with
      the correction phase, and revised after the testing/validation phase.

      Running tests on the system to make sure the corrections fixed the problem is
      the next step.  These tests should be run as soon as possible after assessment
      and correction in case additional changes need to be made.  Independent
      verification of the test may be appropriate in some cases.

IMPLEMENTATION -- by 9/30/99
      Once the systems are  readjusted to operate correctly, they should be retested
      and revalidated.  Then they are ready for implementation.

        is help available? For further information and help, visit the EPA Year 2000
        ^k sjje gj 2000/ow.htm. There you will find an EPA
checklist that can serve as a starting place for checking basic systems.  Manufacturers
and industry experts can provide advice on specific systems. Other information is
posted there too.