Securing Wastewater Facilities: Costs of Vulnerability Assessments, Risk Management Plans, and Alternative Disinfection Methods Vary Widely
In 2006, GAO reported that many large wastewater facilities have responded to this risk by voluntarily conducting vulnerability assessments and converting from chlorine gas to other disinfection methods. The Clean Air Act requires all wastewater facilities that use threshold quantities of chlorine gas to prepare and implement risk management plans to prevent accidental releases and reduce the severity of any releases. In this study, GAO was asked to provide information on (1) the range of costs large wastewater treatment facilities incurred in preparing vulnerability assessments and risk management plans, and (2) the costs large wastewater treatment facilities incurred in converting from chlorine gas to alternative disinfection processes. To answer these questions, GAO conducted structured telephone interviews with a number of facilities surveyed for the 2006 report. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agreed with the report and provided several technical changes and clarifications.