Recently, the Portland Water District received a $119,000 grant from the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to further security efforts and to improve the safety of Greater Portland’s drinking water supply and infrastructure.

In 2003, the Portland Water District conducted a vulnerability assessment which reviewed the water system and identified specific areas to address. Since 9/11, significant measures have been undertaken to increase security and decrease vulnerabilities to terrorism.

DHS allocated $1.5 billion to offset costs associated with the period of heightened alert during the Iraq war ($200 million) and to better train and equip first responders across the country ($1.3 billion). Under Governor Baldacci’s key initiatives, half of Maine’s 2004 Homeland Security grant funds were awarded to regional entities to strengthen collaborative security efforts of critical infrastructure.

In accordance with MEMA’s requirements for funding, the Portland Water District completed and submitted a lengthy application last November to apply for a grant to harden water facilities and add additional barriers, alarms, and telemetry. This work will be completed in 2005.