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Guest Comment: GPIWA facilities are safe and secure

By Staff | Feb 24, 2021

As a water utility, Greater Pine Island Water Association is very aware of the various potential attacks on our infrastructure, both cyber and physical. Although the GPIWA is considered a small system that does not mean we have any less responsibility or commitment to our customers.

As a utility member of the American Water Works Association, we are provided information that the public does not have access to for security threats. GPIWA through this membership then had access to other information issued as a joint situational report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, US Secret Service, and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. GPIWA has many of the tools in place that are recommended to mitigate threats. In this recent incident of the Pinellas County City of Oldsmar water treatment facility, we will state that all our software is current and we have both an external contract for managing information technology and staff expertise.

The GPIWA reverse osmosis plant is controlled by SCADA, Supervisory Control & Data Acquisition. This control program is monitored by state certified operators. This control system is separated by a virtual private network.

Without presenting all our security measures, no chemical dosing pumps are operated without supervision. Alarms are set at various set points such as low, high, and critical high. Some chemical pumping and resultant values in turn can cause a pump to ramp to 0 percent or automatically shut down the plant completely.

— Greater Pine Island Water Authority