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Latest summary of EPA actions to ensure safe drinking water on Montana Tribal Lands

Release Date: 05/20/2009
Contact Information: Lisa Kahn, 303 312-6896

(Denver, Colo. – May 20, 2009) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued 4 administrative orders and 1 emergency administrative order to water systems on Tribal lands in Montana during the period October 1, 2008 through March 31, 2009.

EPA issues an administrative order when a public water system violates the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and its regulations. An administrative order requires the public water system to comply with the drinking water regulations that it violated and includes action items for returning to compliance.

EPA issued administrative orders to the following public water systems on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation:

Agnes Leggins
Hays/White Cow
Lodgepole Housing
Mission Housing

EPA issues an emergency order when there is a potential for imminent and substantial endangerment to public health, such as when acute contaminants have been identified in a public water system or when the water system has experienced a disruption that may endanger public health.

EPA issued an emergency administrative order on January 28, 2009, to the Frazer Water System on the Fort Peck Reservation when the distribution system lost pressure. In such situations, potentially harmful contaminants can enter the distribution system through cracks and leaks in the pipes. The Tribe took necessary precautions to protect the residents during the pressure loss, and multiple tests conducted after service was restored proved the water to be safe for normal use.

EPA Region 8 oversees the protection of public health and the environment in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming and on Tribal lands in these states.