From the Editors

A new year; a new start. Time to make plans; time to evaluate the past and place it firmly under our feet. The events that carried us through the previous year cannot be forgotten, but we must not let them bind us to the bed.

Still, most feel safer locked in their houses, away from the maddening streets and threats rippling their comfort zones. But after the shock of Sept. 11, 2001, subsided, we discovered that even our own houses were not safe.

Terroristic scenarios played out about airborne biological warfare, computer infiltration and water tampering. For the majority of our readers, the latter is the one that matters most. Is the U.S. water infrastructure secure enough to withstand any sort of terrorist attack?

On Nov. 15, 2001, the U.S. House Science Committee approved legislation that would provide the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with $60 million in funding to support research and development of tools to protect water systems from terrorist attacks. Bill H.R. 3178 will give $12 million over five years to EPA for computer and physical security needs. However, at press time, no further action has been taken on this legislation.

"To counter terrorism effectively, we must look beyond the needs of the moment," said Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.), the bill's chief sponsor and the committee chairman.

At press time, Sen. James Jeffords (I-Vt.) is sponsering a similar bill (S. 1593) in the U.S. Senate that will give $12 million over six years to EPA. Named the Water Infrastructure Security and Research Development Act of 2001, the legislation finds support from several water organizations that have lobbied Congress for increased anti-terrorist funding since the Sept. 11 attacks. (To keep track of the bills in progress, visit thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.html.)

This editorial space is too small to go into great detail about the merits of an improved water infrastructure. Nevertheless, much work will go into upgrading out-of-date systems, which is something that should have been concentrated on more in the past. However, maybe if former President George Bush's money and background were in water, instead of oil, we'd be fighting a whole different kind of war today.




This article originally appeared in the January/February 2002 issue of Water & Wastewater Products, Volume 2, Number 1, page 4.

This article originally appeared in the 01/01/2002 issue of Environmental Protection.

About the Author

Jason Hensel is managing editor of [Water & Wastewater Products].

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