** p[HV        Drinking Water Quality in  Indian
                     Country:  Protecting Your  Sources
Source water protection is preventing the
pollution of the waters that serve as sources of
drinking water. One of the most basic needs of
any community is safe and clean drinking water.
Nearly 700,000 people rely on safe drinking water
provided by 750 community water systems,
which are owned by tribes.  Many tribes have
seen treatment costs increase over the past 20
years and contaminant threats continue to increase
as old infrastructures, such as septic tanks,
underground gas tanks, and wastewater facilities,
deteriorate. In 2003, ten percent of community
water systems serving tribes violated health-based
contaminant-related drinking water standards.

Sometimes the source of drinking water
contamination is something commonly used and
not noticed because it may take years to reach the
water supply. For example, the Shoshone-
Bannock Tribes of Fort Hall Reservation in Idaho
discovered high levels of a potentially
carcinogenic pesticide, ethylene dibromide, in
their ground water source during routine
monitoring. This contamination resulted from
In 2004, there were 1,074 leaks from
underground gasoline storage tanks in Indian
following the manufacturer's recommended use
of the pesticide. It was so extensive that the
Tribe had to abandon the existing production
wells and construct new wells outside the
contamination area.  Also, a multi-million dollar
water delivery system had to be constructed to
provide safe water to homes located in the
contamination zone that rely on affected
individual wells. Other threats are discussed in
this fact sheet.

Instead of fixes such as added chemical treatment,
and investment in new technologies after a
contamination event, protecting a water source
from contamination can be much more cost
effective. If harmful pathogens (i.e., virsuses and
bacteria) chemicals are kept out of rivers, lakes,
or underground water supplies (aquifers) that
tribes use for drinking water, the risk to the
human population is lowered significantly. The
first barrier, source water protection, is not the
only barrier to waterborne contamination threats,
but it is an important first step that can save
money and  reduce risks to human health.

A tribal water supply operator should assess
sources of drinking water and identify the
potential problems to help determine what  actions
are needed to prevent contamination of the

        ??  DID YOU KNOW  ??
  By 2006, it's estimated that:

     Over half of all  tribal community water
     systems will have completed source
     water assessments, and

     20%  of tribal community water systems
     will have adopted source water
     protection measures.

sources.  Protecting Drinking Water: A
Workbook for Tribes (Tribal Workbook)
provides step-by-step instructions on how to
develop a workplan and complete a source
water assessment.  It supplies worksheets and
tables for copying  and is available on line for
downloading in a compressed WordPerfect
file at: www.water-ed.org/specialprojects.asp, or
contact your EPA regional office. The Tribal
Workbook offers both a simplified approach
and a detailed approach to completing
assessments. EPA Regions are familiar with
the Tribal Workbook and use it in conducting
training and tribal  assessments.


       MAP the Source Water
       Protection  Area

       INVENTORY Potential
       Contamination  Sources

       ANALYZE  and  Determine the
       Susceptibility of the Water
       Supply to Contamination

       INFORM the Public
Step 1: Map the Source Water Protection
Area The source water protection area is the
land area that could contribute pollutants to the
drinking water supply. For each tribal public
water supply, a map of the "zone of influence" is
made. For water systems that use a well, the
source water protection area is the land that lies
over the part of the aquifer that supplies water to
the well. For a community that relies on a river,
lake, or reservoir, the source water protection area
is the watershed upstream of the drinking water
intake.  A watershed is the land area where rain or
snow falls and flows over or through the ground
to eventually enter the stream or lake.

Step 2: Inventory Potential Contaminant
Sources  For each source water protection area,
the tribe or responsible agency conducts an
inventory of all potential contaminant threats and
identifies potential sources of regulated
contaminants listed in the Safe Drinking Water
Act and other substances of concern to the tribe.
Common potential sources of contamination and
other substances of concern for tribes are
cesspools, underground fuel storage tanks,
residential or commercial septic systems, farms
that apply pesticides and fertilizers, roads and
other paved surfaces, and abandoned wells.  EPA
Regions have materials to assist with inventories.

Step 3: Determine the Susceptibility of the
Water Supply to Contamination  The next
step is to determine the likelihood that the
inventoried contaminants will impact the water
supply. This helps tribal decision makers, the
water supply operator and concerned tribal
citizens, consider priority activities to undertake
for protecting the source water area. The Tribal
Workbook provides several susceptibility (or risk)
determination methods for tribes. EPA Regions
have examples of susceptibility determination
approaches to assist tribes.


    How close are these potential
    contaminant sources to your water

    Gas stations    Abandoned wells
    Septic tanks    Field Crops
    Sewer lines     Chemical storage
         Animal Feeding Operations

  Management practices can be an
  alternative to banning activities in source
  water protection areas.
Step 4: Inform the Public
Tribes should balance protection
activities to inform the public about
security and sensitivity concerns.
The results of the assessments can help
communities better understand the potential
threats to their water supplies and identify priority
needs for protecting their source water from
contamination.  The most important aspect of an

assessment is that it provides the basic
information needed to plan activities that will
lower the risk of contamination.



    Post on community bulletin boards
    Write a newspaper article
    Use local radio programs
    Announce it at tribal meetings
    Include information in the water bill
    Work with schools to educate children

  Source water protection relies on
  individual responsibility, which in turn
  relies on being informed.
Consider Source Water Protection
While source water protection is not the only
barrier to safeguard against waterborne
contaminant threats, it is an important first step
that can save money and decrease risks to human
health. Tribes have undertaken a wide array of
activities to prevent contamination of drinking
water supplies. Some examples include:

Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin Well
Abandonment Ordinance
The Oneida Tribe developed an ordinance
requiring the proper abandonment, or upgrading,
of all unused wells within the reservation
boundaries. The Tribe believes that the proper
abandonment of wells protects public health,
safety, and welfare by assuring that wells that
may serve as pathways for contamination are
properly abandoned. With this ordinance in place,
the Tribe's drinking water source is less
vulnerable to contamination by substances that
could drain into improperly abandoned wells.
Regulatory approaches, such as restricting land
uses that may release contaminants in critical
source water areas, are sometimes the best
Hoopa Tribe Public Outreach Campaign
The Hoopa Tribe sponsored radio programs and
public service announcements about drinking
water issues and the need to prevent source water
contamination. They distributed fliers to inform
the community about its water supply, posted "No
Dumping" signs in the watershed, published
articles promoting source water protection, and
encouraged citizens and businesses to recycle
used oil, limit their use of pesticides, and
participate in watershed cleanup activities.

Sauk-Suiattle  Tribe Source  Water
Protection Actions
The Sauk-Suiattle Reservation was established on
15 acres in 1984. Overdevelopment on the
shallow aquifer supplying the public water supply
is an ongoing threat. The Sauk-Suiattle Tribe
developed corrective actions as identified in its
Source Water Protection Plan (Plan). The Tribe
received a grant  from U.S. Department of
Agriculture Rural Development and is working
with Indian Health Service to drill a deeper well
into a confined aquifer. It is replacing, upgrading
and separating failing septic systems.  The Plan
was effective in gaining cooperation with
landowners in the absence of regulatory
authority, as in reducing the number of cars from
100 to 10 in a private junkyard above or around
the aquifer.  The Tribe is also reducing threats
from gravel mining, forestry practices, and
pesticides in the  source water area.

La Posta Band of Mission Indians
La Posta Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) completed source water assessments on
seven supply wells. Quarterly newsletters
included updates on a source water assessment
plan (SWAP), which inform the tribal  community
about progress on each assessment step along the
way. La Posta EPA talked to elementary students
at  schools about how ground water becomes
contaminated  (directly and indirectly), and
prevention. La Posta also held workshops for the
community to inform the public of SWAP efforts
and ways to make sure a water supply  meets
federal and local standards.  La Posta EPA also
held Earth Day, an event at which the public was
educated on preventing pollution, and direct and
indirect groundwater contamination.

Protecting Drinking Water: A Workbook
for Tribes is used by many tribes to conduct
source water assessments and protection and may
be downloaded from the Water Education
Foundation web site:
www. water-ed. org/specialprojects. asp or
contact your EPA regional office

The Trust for Public Land has three
publications on protection available for download
or purchase from its website, www.tpl.org.
Protecting the Source explores ideas for using
land conservation for drinking water protection
and presents best practices for local use. Path to
Protection presents ten strategies for source water
protection, with case studies of successful
application of the strategies. Source Protection
Handbook provides source water conservation
tools to: identify protection opportunities, conduct
funded programs, and acquire and protect lands to
keep tribal drinking water clean.

EPA  Source Water Protection Grants are
funds set aside for tribes for source water
activities. EPA regional offices use the funds to
support technical circuit riders (part trainer, part
management consultant) to assist tribes and
provide grants directly to interested tribes.

Tribal Pesticide and Special Projects
Grants are awarded by the Office of Pesticide
Programs to tribes to carry out projects to assess
or reduce pesticides for protecting ground water.

EPA  Clean Water Act Section 106 Grants
can be used for water pollution control and
ground water protection activities in Indian
country, including source water protection.

For More Information
To learn more about source water assessment and
protection opportunities, contact the EPA
Regional Offices.  More information is available
from the Office  of Ground Water and Drinking
Water tribal webpage:
http ://www .epa.gov/safewater/protect/ tribe .html
Or contact the EPA Safe Drinking Water
Hotline:  1-800-426-4791.
        Regional Contacts
        EPA Region I (CT, MA, ME, NH, Rl, VT)
        Ted Lavery, Main Unit (CME)
        1 Congress Street, Suite 1100 (CCT)
        Boston, MA 02114-2023
        (617) 918-1683; lavery.ted@epa.gov

        EPA Region II (NJ, NY, PR, USVI)
        Gerard McKenna, Drinking Water Section
        290 Broadway, 24th Floor
        New York, NY 10007-1866
        (212) 637-3838; mckenna.gerard@epa.gov

        EPA Region IV (AL, FL, GA, KY, MS, NC, SC, TN)
        Robert Olive, Water Division
        100 Alabama St., SW, 15th Floor
        Atlanta, GA 30303-3104
        (404) 562-9423; olive.robert@epa.gov

        EPA Region V (IL, IN, MN, Ml, OH, Wl)
        Jan Bartlett, GWDW Branch
        77 W. Jackson Boulevard (WG-15J)
        Chicago, IL 60604
        (312) 886-5438; bartlett.janice@epa.gov

        EPA Region VI (TX, AR, LA, OK, NM)
        Ken Williams, Drinking Water Section (6WQ-SD)
        1445 Ross Avenue
        Dallas,TX 75202-2733
        (214) 665-7129; williams.ken@epa.gov

        EPA Region VII (IA, KS. MO, NE)
        Stephanie Lindberg, Drinking Water Program
        901 North 5th Street
        Kansas City, KS 66101
        (913) 551-7423; lindberg.stephanie@epa.gov

        EPA Region VIM (CO, MT, ND, SD, UT, WY)
        John Giedt, Ground Water/Source Water
        999 18th St,. Ste. 500 (8 EPR-EP)
        Denver, CO 80292-2405
        (303) 312-6550; giedt.john@epa.gov

        EPA Region IX (AS, AZ, CA, GU, HI, NV)
        Jamelya Curtis, Ground Water Office
        75 Hawthorne, WTR-9
        San Francisco, CA 94105
        (415) 972-3529; curtis.jamelya@epa.gov

        EPA Region X (AK, ID, OR, WA)
        Jennifer Parker, Ground Water Protection Unit
        1200 Sixth Ave., OW 137
        Seattle, WA98105
        (206) 553-1900; parker.jennifer@epa.gov
Office of Water (4606M)
November 2005