The case describes a complex risk management challenge faced by the director of a rural metropolitan water supply facility.
The facility uses chlorine gas in its water treatment, largely because chlorine is the most effective treatment available, in terms of safety, cost and environmental impact. The challenge to the decision to use chlorine came in a security report from the Department of Homeland Security. Their concern was that chlorine, a hazardous chemical, could be used by terrorists, both during its transport to the treatment facility and at the facility itself. You should read the case and the accompanying Exhibits and be prepared to address the following questions.
. Mark’s initial question to organize his thinking was. “Was the water treatment system based on Cl now unreliable, even though it had been delivering clean safe water all these years?” Is there something different about the water treatment system itself, so that a system that has worked successful for years now is no longer reliable?
. Is the Department of Homeland Security over-reacting to the risks chlorine poses?
. How might a terrorist attack at the Metropolitan Water Supply Authority’s facility in Unity lead to a public health emergency?
. Risk involves assumptions about how likely a situation is to occur, and if it does occur, how large the potential loss would be. How would Mark argue that the risk of a terrorist attack on chlorine at the Metropolitan Water Supply Authority’s facility in Unity is at an acceptable level?
. When considering risk and potential losses, what actions could Mark take to mitigate both of the factors – lower the probability that an event occurs and reducing the consequences of the event (both economic and non-economic).
6. Consulting the exhibits and reviewing the case, what evidence is available to Mark that the Department of Homeland Security may be over-reacting to the threat chlorine poses?