News Briefs: FBI Investigating Water Treatment Plant Hacking in San Francisco

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, a chemical plant failure causes a chlorine shortage in Oregon

Just as the Water Sector Coordinating Council released the results of a survey showing the cybersecurity preparedness levels of the water industry, a story surfaced about the FBI looking into a hacker’s attempt to poison the water at a San Francisco Bay Area treatment facility.

The hacker used the remote login credentials of a former employee and deleted programs the treatment plant was using to treat its water.

The cyberattack was discovered the next day, and officials reinstalled the programs and changed its passwords.

Failure at Chemical Plant Causes Chlorine Shortage in Oregon

A major electrical failure at a chemical plant has caused a chlorine shortage in Oregon, but the Oregon Office of Emergency Management says tap water in the state remains safe.

“There are no immediate impacts, and we continue to track for potential changes or needs,” said OEM Deputy Director Matt Marheine, according to My Central Oregon. “The public can continue to use water for drinking, cooking and bathing, but may consider limiting outdoor use to extend the state’s current chlorine supply. We appreciate the public’s careful water usage and want to reassure there is no need to start amassing additional volumes of water.”

Westlake Chemical — the facility that experienced the electrical failure — is located in Longview, Washington, and supplies chlorine to much of the Pacific Northwest.

EPA Announces $569 Million WIFIA Loan for Fargo-Moorhead, Minnesota

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced a $569 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan for a project to increase climate resilience for communities in the Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan area in Minnesota by reducing flood risks. This project will provide critical health and the environmental protections and create thousands of jobs while EPA’s WIFIA loan will save the community hundreds of millions of dollars, according to EPA.

“This project illustrates that strong partnerships can be forged through investments in water infrastructure,” says EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Through water infrastructure, we can address local challenges while creating good paying jobs.”


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