United States
        Environmental Protection
Office of Water
EPA 812-F-97-002
January 1997
&EPA Fact Sheet
        Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs
        Survey: American Indian and Alaska
        Native Water Systems

Location of EPA Regions
                    Fact  Sheet
                    Drinking Water  Infrastructure  Needs
                    Survey:  American  Indian  and Alaska
                    Native Water Systems
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has conducted the first comprehensive study of
the drinking water infrastructure needs of American Indian and Alaska Native water systems. This
                       study was part of the first nationwide survey of drinking water
                       systems'  infrastructure needs. The survey estimates how much
                       money drinking water systems nationwide will have to spend now
                       and through the year 2014. The report estimates the need for
                       complying with current and future federal regulations, replacing
                       aging infrastructure to protect public health, and consolidating
                       with or acquiring neighboring systems without safe supplies of
                       drinking water. The Indian Health Service (IHS), and American
                       Indian and Alaska Native representatives participated in survey
                       design and implementation.
                                           How Was the Survey Conducted?
                                           The Needs Survey workgroup assessed needs for a sample of the
                                           884 American Indian and Alaska Native systems nationwide.
                                           These needs were assessed through site visits, questionnaires, and
                                           expert evaluations, with American Indian and Alaska Native
                                           representatives involved in each assessment. The results of these
                                           assessments were complied and used along with IHS data to
                                           estimate the total need.
                    What is the Total Need
                    for American Indian
                    and Alaska Native
                    The Drinking Water Infrastructure
                    Needs Survey shows that American
                    Indian and Alaska Native water
                    systems will need S1.3 billion for the
                    20-year period from January 1995
                    through December 2014. Signifi-
                    cantly, about $1.1 billion of the total
                    is needed now for infrastructure
                    improvements to protect public

                    What Needs do Ameri-
                    can Indian  Water
                    System Face?
                    American Indian water systems face
                    unique problems. Communities are
                    often distant from other towns and
                    communities, so they must construct
Total Need by EPA Region
(in millions of Jan. '95 dollars)
EPA Region
Region 1
Region 2
Region 3
Region 4
Region 5
Region 6
Region 7
Region 8
Region 9
Region 10
Alaska Native Systems

e an no American Indian water systems in EPA Region 3.
ijo water systems are located in EPA Regions 6, 8. and 9. but are reported here in Region 9.

     American  Indian and Alaska  Native
                 Need by Category
              (in millions of Jan. '95 dollars)
                        $98 (7%)
                                           $279 (21%)
    and Distribution
     $649 (49%)
                                      $33 (2%)
and maintain their own water systems. American Indian water
systems require more distribution line per customer than most
small systems regulated by the States. Almost 40 percent of
American Indian needs are for transmission and distribution.

Treatment needs account for approximately one third of the total
need for American Indian systems. Water sources can be difficult
to find in the arid country in which many American Indian
communities are located, and when found, water is often of poor
quality. Frequently, the only available sources of water require
expensive treatment methods.

American Indians have a higher average per-household cost than
small systems regulated by the States. The average per-household
need over a 20-year period is $6,200 for a American Indian water
system compared to $3,300 for small systems regulated by the
                                                                What  Needs do Alaska Native Water
                                                                Systems Face?
                                                                Transmission and distribution system installation and replacement
                                                                account for about half of the total Alaska Native water system
                                                                need. Freezing and structural stability problems associated with
                                                                permafrost make construction expensive.

Projects to install or replace treatment and storage facilities for Alaska Native communities represent over a third of their reported need. In
order for Alaska Native water systems to be structurally sound, heated facilities such as water treatment facilities and storage tanks must be
constructed on pilings or large pads made of imported gravel. Because many Alaska Native households lack running water, treatment
facilities often house washeterias with showers, toilets, and laundry facilities.

Capital infrastructure costs are further increased by the short
construction season and the high cost of transporting equipment. The
average per-household need over a 20-year period for an Alaska
Native water system is very high at $43,500.
What is the Need to Comply with the Safe
Drinking Water Act?
Approximately $96 million is needed for existing Safe Drinking Water
Act (SDWA) regulations for contaminants with acute health effects.
This includes the Surface Water Treatment Rule, the Total Coliform
Rule (TCR), and the nitrate standard. In addition, $1 million is needed
for compliance with existing regulations for contaminants with chronic
health effects, such as the Lead and Copper Rule.

An additional $185 million is for replacing or repairing distribution
pipes, which is not considered a SDWA need. This need is categorized
as a SDWA-related need because the monitoring required under the
SDWA's TCR helps to identify problems in the distribution lines.
However, these problems would exist in the absence of TCR
monitoring, and they would eventually degrade water quality and
service to the extent that problems would be detected without the
monitoring required under the TCR.
American Indian and Alaska Native
otal SDWA and SDWA-Related Need
(in millions of Jan. '95 dollars)
Existing Regulations
Regulations for Contaminants
with Acute Health Effects
Regulations for Contaminants
with Chronic Health Effects
Proposed Regulations
Disinfectants and Disinfection
Byproducts Rule
Enhanced Surface Water
Treatment Rule
SDWA-Related Need
Distribution Improvements (TCR)

How Can I Obtain More Information?
Information on the Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey Report to Congress is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at
1-800-426-4791. EPA will post the Executive Summary on the Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water home page at
http://www.epa.gov/OW/OGWDW. Reprints of the report are available for sale to the public through the Educational Resource Information
Center at 1-800-276-0462, or through the National Technical Information Service at 1-800-553-NTIS or (703)487-4650.