EPA Grant Supports Protection and

    Contingency Planning


    Location:  The Upper Skagit Indian Reservation was established September 10,
    1981. Part of the reservation's land base is situated on terraces just above the
    floodplain of the Skagit River at the toe of Lyman Hill in Skagit County, Washington.
    This reservation land base is called the Helmick Road Reservation, which includes 74
    original acres of Reservation lands and 70 adjacent acres. The Helmick Road
    Reservation is the administrative and community center of the Tribe. There are 76
    residential connections within the reservation and 6 off-reservation residential
    connections, plus 8 commercial connections.

    Water Supply: One public water system fed  by ground water aquifer is the source of
    the community's drinking water supply.

    Source Water Assessment: EPA funded an initial project in 1993 that resulted in the
    Wellhead Protection Plan, Helmick Road Reservation, Upper Skagit Indian  Tribe, by
    Shannon & Wilson, Inc.. This 1993 report delineated the source water protection area
    and identified potential sources of contamination. Susceptibility analysis was not
    performed at the time due to the lack of area wells to generate the underlying aquifer
    hydrostratigraphy. In 2003 funds from EPA provided for the development of the
    Contingency Plans for short and long term disruptions in water supply and to further
    develop source water protection measures.

    Priority Contamination Threats

    The major threats to the reservation's water  supply according to the 1993 Wellhead
    Protection Plan are the locations of three community on-site septic wastewater
    facilities located within the two-year travel zone of the community's drinking water
    ground water wellfield, and an additional three community on-site septic wastewater
    facilities located within the five-year travel zone. Another contamination threat is from
    untreated stormwater runoff. Area land use is primarily rural residential, rural
    agriculture, and industrial  forest. An abandoned coal mine is also nearby.
    Subsequent studies show a reduced threat of contamination from on-site septic
    systems due to the presence of aquitards protecting the ground source.

    Local Team and  Developing the Protection Plan

    Representatives on the contributing team were from the USIT Environmental
    Planning Department, Public Works Department, Safety Committee, and Utility Board.
Office of Water (4606M)                      816F10050                            January 2010

     Management Measures

     The Upper Skagit Indian Tribe has developed reports to assist in establishing long-
     term protection and source water contingency alternatives. These reports are the
     USIT Helmick Road Reservation Overall Water System Plan (OWSP), the USIT
     Helmick Road Reservation Overall Wastewater System Plan (OWWSP), the USIT
     Helmick Road Reservation Water and Wastewater Systems Operational and
     Maintenance Manual, and the USIT Helmick Road Reservation Water Contingency
     Plan. The Overall System Plans incorporate asset inventories, describe the use and
     projected use of the systems, analyze the systems' deficiencies and propose
     improvement projects that will provide for existing and future demand, and the health
     and safety of the lands and people. These reports include environmental, economic,
     and operational assessments of alternative source water and wastewater options.
     The Water Contingency Plan addresses the short-term and long-term steps for
     conserving water, water storage, and a contingency plan in the event of an
     emergency disruption or catastrophic loss of the existing ground water source and
     refers to the OWSP and OWWSP for long-term protection of the existing groundwater
     source through different alternatives.

     Contingency Plan

     The Tribal Water System Contingency Plan was developed to identify the means and
     procedures to have alternative emergency water supplies available to the customers
     of the Tribal water system in  the event of water quality or water quantity failure.
     Highlights of the Contingency Plan include: assessment of possible natural and
     technological hazards with respect to risk and vulnerability; the means and
     procedures for responding to short-term system  disruptions and planning needs for
     long-term  system disruptions. The Contingency Plan also includes a water demand
     reduction plan for minor shortages, moderate shortages and a regional disaster water
     rationing program. The Contingency Plan addresses emergency response
     preparedness for the water system, and is  a key component to providing overall water
     system reliability.

     Measuring  Program Effectiveness

     Community outreach and awareness occurs through regular events such as the
     Annual Health Fair. Successes have included improvements in the water system
     infrastructure, establishment of emergency power systems, progress in stormwater
     management practices, and  significant efforts slated for wastewater treatment
     improvements. Further success demonstrated by the program is inclusion of the
     Contingency Plan as a part of the Tribe's Comprehensive Emergency Management
     Plan. The Contingency Plan  and Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan
     provide for Tribal responders to facilitate decision-making management for multi-
     agency and  multi-jurisdictional response.

     For further information, contact:
     Lauren Rich
Office of Water (4606M)                       816F10050                              January 2010

     Environmental Planning Department
     (360) 854-7006
Office of Water (4606M)                       816F10050                              January 2010