Incident Action Checklist- Earthquake

 The actions in this checklist are divided up into three "rip & run" sections and are examples of activities that water and
 wastewater utilities can take to: prepare for, respond to and recover from an earthquake. For on-the-go convenience, you
 can also populate the "My Contacts" section with critical information that your utility may need during an incident.

Earthquake Impacts on  Water and Wastewater Utilities
An  earthquake is  caused by the shifting of tectonic plates beneath the Earth's surface. Ground shaking from
moving geologic plates collapses buildings  and bridges, and sometimes triggers landslides, avalanches, flash
floods, fires and tsunamis. The strong ground motion of earthquakes has the potential to cause a great deal of
damage to drinking water and wastewater utilities,  particularly since most utility components are constructed
from inflexible materials (e.g., concrete, metal pipes). Earthquakes create many cascading and secondary
impacts that may include, but are not limited to:
    •  Structural damage to facility infrastructure  and equipment
    •  Water tank damage or collapse
    •  Water source transmission line realignment or damage
    •  Damage to distribution lines due to shifting ground and soil
      liquefaction, resulting in potential water loss, water service
      interruptions, low pressure, contamination  and sinkholes
      and/or large pools  of water throughout the service area
    •  Loss of power and communication infrastructure
    •  Restricted access to facilities due to debris and  damage to
The following sections outline actions water and wastewater utilities can take to  prepare for, respond to  and
recover from  an earthquake.

  Example of Water  Sector Impacts  and Response to an Earthquake

  East Bay Municipal Utility District Mitigates Earthquake  Impacts
  Following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) in Oakland, California, began developing a
  comprehensive seismic program to increase their ability to recover from earthquake impacts and reduce water and wastewater service
  interruptions. Taking a proactive approach, EBMUD was the first US water utility to comprehensively retrofit its service area facilities to address
  seismic weaknesses.
  The utility began by assessing  its entire water distribution network to determine areas of improvement. Upgrades included installation of flexible
  joints and hoses to minimize pipe ruptures and to facilitate rerouting of water around broken pipes. The utility also created alternative transmission
  routes for pipes that  cross fault zones.
  EBMUD did a great deal of work to reinforce aqueducts  to make them more resilient to earthquake impacts, including strengthening levees at
  aqueduct crossings and pipe foundations at river crossings, reinforcing pipe joints on buried portions of pipe, and strengthening pipe support
  structures on elevated portions of the aqueduct. The utility is also designing aqueduct interconnections to create bypasses around damaged
  segments after a levee failure or earthquake. These bypasses allow the utility to continue providing service to customers while permanent repairs
  are being made.
  Since 1989, EBMUD has invested more than $350 million in their seismic program, which has been primarily funded by bonds that are being
  repaid through a seismic surcharge on customers' water bill of just over one dollar per month for single-family residential homes.
                                                Source: EBNIUD's 2011 "Earthquake Readiness: Protecting Life Safety and Public Health."

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                       My Contacts and  Resources
                                         UTILITY/ORGANIZATION NAME
                                                                               PHONE NUMBER

Local EMA
State EMA
State Primacy Agency
WARN Chair
Power Utility

•   Incident monitoring:
   •  USGS recent earthquake activity map (U.S.
     Geological Survey [USGS])
   •  NOAA National Weather Service tsunami alerts
     (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
•   Earthquake Hazard Mitigation Handbook (Federal
   Emergency Management Agency [FEMA])
•   Earthquake Hazards Program (USGS)
•   Earthquake Shaking Maps and Information for
   California Residents (Association of Bay Area
•   Recent Earthquakes: Implications for U.S. Water
   Utilities (Water Research Foundation)
•   Planning for an Emergency Drinking Water Supply
•   All-Hazard Consequence Management Planning
   for the Water Sector (Water Sector Emergency
   Response Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory
   Council [CIPAC] Workgroup)
•   Vulnerability Self Assessment Tool (VSAT) (EPA)
•   Tabletop Exercise Tool for Water Systems:
   Emergency Preparedness. Response, and Climate
   Resiliency (EPA)
•   How to Develop a Multi-Year Training and Exercise
   fT&B Plan (EPA)
•   Make a Plan (FEMA)
•   Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network
   (WARN) (EPA)
•   Community Based Water Resiliency (EPA)

Facility and Service Area
•   Oregon Earthquake Resiliency Plan (see Chapter 8:
   Water and Wastewater Systems) (Oregon Seismic
   Safety Policy Advisory Commission)
•   Seismic Guidelines for Water Pipelines (American
   Lifelines Alliance)

Power, Energy and Fuel
•   EPA Region 1 Water/Wastewater System Generator
   Preparedness Brochure (EPA)

Documentation and Reporting
•   Federal Funding for Utilities In National Disasters
   (Fed FUNDS) (EPA)

•   Earthquake Publications: Building Designers.
   Managers and Regulators (FEMA)
•   IS-323: Earthquake Mitigation Basics for Mitigation
   Staff (FEMA)
•   HAZUS: FEMAs Methodology for Estimating
   Potential Losses from Disasters  (FEMA)
•   Earthguake Hazard Mitigation for Utility Lifeline
   Systems (FEMA)
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                  Actions to Prepare for an Earthquake
   Review and update your utility's emergency
   response plan (ERP), and ensure all emergency
   contacts are current.

   Conduct briefings, training and exercises to
   ensure utility staff is aware of all preparedness,
   response and recovery procedures.

   Identify priority water customers (e.g., hospitals),
   obtain their contact information, map their
   locations and develop a plan to restore those
   customers first.

   Develop an emergency drinking water supply
   plan and establish contacts (potentially through
   your local emergency management agency
   [EMA] or mutual aid network) to discuss
   procedures, which may include bulk water
   hauling, mobile treatment units or temporary
   supply lines, as well as storage and distribution.

   Conduct a hazard vulnerability analysis in which
   you review historical records to understand the
   past frequency and intensity of earthquakes
   and how your utility may have been impacted.
   Consider taking actions to mitigate seismic
   impacts to the utility, including those provided
   in the "Actions to Recover from an Earthquake:
   Mitigation" section.

   Complete pre-disaster activities to help apply
   for federal disaster funding (e.g., contact state/
   local officials with connections  to funding, set
   up a system to document damage and costs,
   take photographs of the facility for comparison to
   post-damage photographs).
   Join your state's Water/Wastewater Agency
   Response Network (WARN) or other local
   mutual aid network.
Coordinate with WARN members and other
neighboring utilities to discuss:

   Outlining response activities, roles and
   responsibilities and mutual aid procedures
   (e.g., how to request and offer assistance)

   Conducting joint tabletop or full-scale

   Obtaining resources and assistance, such as
   equipment, personnel, technical support or

   Establishing interconnections between
   systems and agreements with  necessary
   approvals to activate this alternate source.
   Equipment, pumping rates and demand on
   the water sources need to be considered and
   addressed in the design and operations

   Establishing communication protocols and
   equipment to reduce misunderstandings
   during  the incident

Coordinate with other key response partners,
such as your local EMA, to discuss:

   How restoring system operations may
   have higher priority than establishing an
   alternative water source

   Potential points of distribution for the delivery
   of emergency water supply (e.g., bottled
   water)  to the public, as well as who is
   responsible for distributing the water

Understand how the local and utility emergency
operations center (EOC) will be activated and
what your  utility may be called on to do, as
well as how local emergency responders and
the local EOC can support your utility during a
response.  If your utility has assets outside of the
county EMA's jurisdiction, consider coordination
or preparedness efforts that should be done in
those areas.

Ensure credentials to allow access will be valid
during an incident by checking with local law
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             Actions to Prepare for an Earthquake (continued)
Communication with Customers	

I	I Develop outreach materials to provide your
   customers with information they will need after
   an earthquake (e.g., clarification about water
   advisories, instructions for private well and septic
   system maintenance and information about
   earthquake mitigation).
   I Review public information protocols with local
   EMA and public health/primacy agencies.
   These protocols should include developing
   water advisory messages (e.g., boil water) and
   distributing them to customers using appropriate
   mechanisms, such as reverse 911.
Facility and Service Area
   Inventory and order extra equipment and
   supplies, as needed:
   • Motors

   • Fuses

   • Chemicals (ensure at least a two week supply)

   • Cellular phones or other wireless
     communications device

   • Emergency Supplies

     •   Tarps/tape/rope

     •   Cots/blankets

        First aid kits

        Foul weather gear


     •   Sandbags (often, sand must be ordered as

        Bottled water

        Non-perishable food
  I Ensure communication equipment (e.g., radios,
   satellite phones) works and is fully charged.

  I Develop a GIS map of all system components
   and prepare a list of coordinates for each facility.

  I Document pumping requirements and storage
   capabilities, as well as critical treatment
   components and parameters.

  I Establish a seismically hardened or offsite facility
   to store essential records and equipment.

  I Inspect utility for structural stability and consider
   implementing actions to improve the utility's
   ability to withstand damage from earthquakes,
   such as:
   • Secure fixtures, shelves and equipment

   • Anchor or stabilize utility equipment to
     withstand earthquake forces and movements

   • Reinforce, secure or improve utility
     transmission lines and connections to
     withstand earthquake forces, soil movements
     and differential settlements

   • Anchor or improve tank structures to withstand
     earthquake forces and movements
   Identify essential personnel and ensure they are
   trained to perform critical duties in an emergency
   (and possibly without communication), including
   the shut down and start up of the system.

   Establish communication procedures with
   essential and non-essential personnel. Ensure
   all personnel are familiar with emergency
   evacuation and shelter in place procedures.

   Pre-identify emergency operations and clean-
   up crews. Establish alternative transportation
   strategies if roads are impassable.
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            Actions to Prepare for an Earthquake (continued)
   Consider how evacuations or limited staffing
   due to transportation issues (potentially all
   utility personnel) will impact your response

   Identify possible staging areas for mutual
   aid crews if needed in the response, and the
   availability of local facilities to house the crews.

   Encourage personnel, especially those that
   may be on duty for extended periods of time, to
   develop family emergency plans.
Power, Energy and Fuel
   Evaluate condition of electrical panels to accept
   generators; inspect connections and switches.

   Document power requirements of the facility;
   options for doing this may include:
   • Placing a request with the US Army Corps
     of Engineers 249th Engineer Battalion
     (Prime Power): http://www.usace.army.
   • Using the US Army Corps of Engineers on-line
     Emergency Power Facility Assessment Tool
     (EPFAT): http://epfat.swf.usace.army.mil/
Confirm and document generator connection
type, capacity load and fuel consumption. Test
regularly,  exercise under load and service
backup generators.

Contact fuel vendors and inform them of
estimated fuel volumes needed if utility is
impacted. Determine your ability to establish
emergency contract provisions with vendors
and your  ability to transport fuel if re-fueling
contractors are not available. Develop a backup
fueling plan and a prioritization list of which
generators to fuel in case of a fuel shortage.

Collaborate with your local power provider and
EOC to ensure that your water utility  is on the
critical facilities list for priority electrical power
restoration, generators and emergency fuel.
r Notes:
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                 Actions to Respond to an Earthquake
   For coastal communities with an increased risk
   for tsunami activity following an earthquake;
   review the Tsunami Incident Action Checklist for
   more information.
I	I Notify your local EMA and state regulatory/
   primacy agency of system status.

I	I If needed, request or offer assistance (e.g.,
   water buffalos, water sampling teams,
   generators) through mutual  aid networks, such
   as WARN.

I	I Assign a representative of the utility to the
   incident command post or the community's EOC.

Communication with  Customers	
   Notify customers of any water advisories
   and consider collaborating with local media
   (television, radio, newspaper, etc.) to distribute
   the message. If emergency water is being
   supplied, provide information on the distribution
Facility and Service Area

   Conduct damage assessments of the utility to
   prioritize repairs and other actions.
Check that back-up equipment and facility
systems, such as controls and pumps, are
in working order, and ensure that chemical
containers and feeders are intact.

Drinking Water Utilities

Inspect the utility and service area for damage.
Identify facility components (e.g., valve boxes)
and fire hydrants that have been buried, are
inaccessible or have been destroyed.

Investigate drinking water wells for damage
caused by liquefaction. This could result in
the loss of storage for groundwater or ground

Ensure pressure is maintained throughout the
system and isolate those sections where it is not.

Isolate and control leaks in water transmission
and distribution piping.

Turn off water meters at destroyed homes and

Monitor water quality, develop a sampling plan
and adjust treatment as necessary.

Notify regulatory/primacy agency if operations
and/or water quality or quantity are affected.

Utilize pre-established emergency connections
or setup temporary connections to nearby
communities, as needed. Alternatively, implement
plans to draw emergency water from pre-
determined tanks or hydrants. Notify employees
of the activated sites.
r Notes:
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           Actions to Respond to an  Earthquake (continued)
   Wastewater Utilities

   Inspect the utility and service area, including
   lift stations, for damage, downed trees, and
   power availability. Inspect the sewer system for
   debris and assess the operational status of the
   mechanical bar screen. If necessary, run system
   in manual operation.

   Notify regulatory/primacy agency of any changes
   to the operations or required testing parameters.
Documentation and Reporting
   Document all damage assessments, mutual aid
   requests, emergency repair work, equipment
   used, purchases made, staff hours worked and
   contractors used during the response to assist
   in requesting reimbursement and applying for
   federal disaster funds. When possible, take
   photographs of damage at each work site (with
   time and date stamp). Proper documentation is
   critical to requesting reimbursement.

   Work with your local EMA on the required
   paperwork for public assistance requests.
   Account for all personnel and provide emergency
   care, if needed. Caution personnel about known
   hazards resulting from earthquakes.

   Deploy emergency operations and clean-up
   crews (e.g., securing heavy equipment). Identify
   key access points and roads for employees
   to enter the utility and critical infrastructure;
   coordinate the need for debris clearance with
   local emergency management or prioritize it for
   employee operations.
Power, Energy and Fuel
   Use backup generators, as needed, to supply
   power to system components.

   Monitor and plan for additional fuel needs
   in advance; coordinate fuel deliveries to the

   Maintain contact with electric provider for power
   outage duration estimates.
r Notes:
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                Actions to  Recover from an Earthquake
   Documentation and Reporting
I	I Continue work with response partners to obtain
   funding, equipment, etc.

Communication with  Customers	
   Assign a utility representative to continue
   to communicate with customers concerning
   a timeline for recovery and other pertinent
Facility and Service Area
I	I Complete damage assessments.

I	I Complete permanent repairs, replace depleted
   supplies and return to normal service.
      Compile damage assessment forms and cost
      documentation into a single report to facilitate
      the sharing of information and the completion
      of state and federal funding applications.
      Visit EPA's web-based tool, Federal  Funding
      for Utilities—Water/Wastewater—in National
      Disasters  (Fed FUNDS), for tailored information
      and application forms for various federal
      disaster funding programs: http://water.epa.gov/

      Develop a lessons learned document and/or
      an after action report to keep a record of your
      response  activities. Update your vulnerability
      assessment, ERP and contingency plans.

      Revise budget and asset management plans to
      address increased costs from response-related
                                                    Identify mitigation and long-term adaptation
                                                    measures that can prevent damage and
                                                    increase utility resilience. Consider impacts
                                                    related to earthquakes when planning for system
                                                    upgrades (e.g., replacing pipes, wellheads and
                                                    water tanks to address seismic weaknesses).
                              Office of Water (4608-T)
EPA 817-F-15-002 January 2015
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