Water officials at the Duck River Utility Commission say customers need not worry about the safety of their water should any nefarious online criminals set their sights on the water treatment plant.

Following the recent cyberattack of a Florida water treatment that put those water customers on edge, DRUC officials released a statement assuring local customers that their water supply is secure.

The commission said it wanted to assure water customers supplied by the commission that all DRUC employees take the security of the water supply “extremely seriously.”

“The DRUC water treatment control systems are not connected to the internet in any way,” the commission stated. “Even computer maintenance activities requiring internet access are completed without a direct connection.”

The commission added DRUC maintains “state-of-the-art software and hardware to prevent unauthorized intrusion even though no internet connection is possible.”

“These systems are all password protected and utilize key card security to prevent unauthorized access. The control systems are also programmed with setpoint ranges that prevent values from being entered outside of desired limits,” officials said in the statement. “The system will not accept unusually high numbers similar to what was attempted in the cyber-attack in Florida.”

The DRUC facility is manned 24 hours a day by state-certified licensed operators who “continuously monitor both the control computers and security systems,” officials said. “The treatment process is also monitored continuously by multiple devices to detect any anomaly or malfunction, and these units are capable of shutting down the system if a variance occurs.”

The water treatment facility has multiple safety protocols and procedures in place, including physical access control systems, entry alarms systems and 16 different cameras monitoring the reservoir, water intake and treatment plant, according to officials.

DRUC supplies drinking water to multiple communities, including Tullahoma, Manchester, Wartrace, Bell Buckle, Beechgrove, Pelham, Summitville, Hillsboro and portions of Bedford and Moore counties.

According to DRUC General Manager Randal Braker, the statement was simply meant to be a proactive measure to “alleviate any concerns that may be out there,” and was not issued in response to any actual threat against the water treatment facility.

Generally speaking, Braker said complaints about the water, when they occur, do not go directly to DRUC; rather, he said, Tullahoma water customers share any concerns or issues with their water provider, Tullahoma Utilities Authority, who then check with DRUC if needed.

According to TUA President Brian Skelton, the utility authority has not received any complaints or inquiries into the safety of the water system following the Florida cyber-attack.

Any DRUC customer who would like more information on the safety and security of the area’s water supply can contact Braker at 455-6458 or email him at manager@druc.org.

Managing Editor

Erin McCullough has won awards for her news reporting, community lifestyles and education reporting in the three years she's been a journalist. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and currently lives in Tullahoma with her cat, Luna.

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