United States
Environmental Protection
        ANN UAL REPORT 2012
 The Clean Water Indian Set Aside Grant Program
       The Clean  Water  Indian
    Set  Aside  Grant  Program
                                                       Promoting access to sustainable
                                                       safe drinking water and basic sanitation in
                                                       Indian country through integrated
                                                       appropriate  infrastructure and sustainable
                                                       resource entities that link the development
                                                       goals of the tribe with the need for such
                                                       services and infrastructure*.
    Environmental Benefits:
      Since 2003, more than
    56,875 tribal homes have
     been provided access to
      wastewater sanitation.

     Public Health Benefits:
 Nationwide, 12% of tribal homes
    lack access to safe drinking
   water or wastewater facilities
   compared to less than 1% for
    non-tribal homes. EPA uses
    the Indian Health Service's
 Sanitation Deficiency System to
  identify and prioritize important
 projects that benefit public health
          for CWISA funding.

       Economic Benefits:
  Water infrastructure projects
 stimulate local economies and
    create construction jobs in
tribal communities (see Nambe
    Pueblo case study, pg 6).
                 The Clean Water Indian Set Aside
                 (CWISA) Grant Program, in
                 conjunction with the Indian Health
                 Service, assists federally recognized
                 Indian tribes in the U.S. in gaining
                 access to basic sanitation. In FY2012,
                 EPA awarded $30 million for
                 wastewater treatment construction
                 projects in Indian country, financing
                 89 projects. These projects will serve
                 over 9,000 tribal homes and 78% of
                 these projects will provide first-time
                 access to safe wastewater services.
                 To ensure the long-term benefit from
                 these investments, the CWISA Grant
                 Program emphasizes system
                 sustainability and continued
                 operations and maintenance of the
                 infrastructure. These construction
programs also provide opportunities
for tribal members to develop job

Since 1987, about $400 million in
CWISA Grant Program funding has
been made available to finance a total
of 1,062 projects in Indian country.
Between 2003 and 2012, in
coordination with other federal
partners, EPA provided 63,087 tribal
homes with access to basic
wastewater sanitation.  While great
progress has been made in Indian
country to reduce the number of tribal
homes without access to wastewater
collection and treatment, more work is
needed. In FY2011, there continued
to be over 120,000 tribal homes

*2011 Revised Infrastructure Task Force Focus

  Annual Report 2012
    Between 2003 and
  2011,  in coordination
      with other federal
         partners, EPA
 provided 63,087 tribal
    homes with access
  to basic wastewater
without access to basic sanitation. The
American Indian and Alaskan Native
populations have been growing by
18.4% between 2000 and 2010,
compared to the total U.S. population
which increased by only 10% over the
same period (U.S. Census). As
American Indian and Alaskan Native
populations rapidly grow, the universe of
homes without access to safe drinking
water and basic wastewater sanitation is
also growing, and the need for these
services becomes more prominent. The
latest Indian Health Service annual
report from the Sanitation Facilities
Construction program (FY2010)
estimated the wastewater need totaled
$900 million in Indian country.
     Federal and
Support Tribes
The CWISA Grant Program relies on a
number of federal partners to achieve its
goals. EPA uses the Indian Health
Service's (IHS) Sanitation Deficiency
System priority lists to identify and
select projects for CWISA funding. This
partnership maximizes the technical
and financial resources available
through both agencies to address tribal
wastewater treatment needs.

The Tribal Infrastructure Task Force is
an inter-agency group initiated under a
memorandum of understanding among
EPA, IHS, U.S. Department of
Agriculture, Department of the Interior,
and Department of Housing and Urban
Development. In November 2011, the
task force renewed its commitment to
support increased access to safe
drinking water and basic sanitation in
Indian country and defined a broader
focus to encourage increased
sustainability of tribal infrastructure.
With this renewed focus, the task force
invited 825 tribal leaders, tribal housing
directors, and water organizations to join
the efforts of the federal partners
through participation in a federal
steering committee. The committee
continues to provide direct input on how
to increase sustainable access to safe
drinking water and basic sanitation in
Indian country.

The federal agencies and tribal
members of the task force worked
together to draft a document defining
sustainable management entities and
appropriate infrastructure
to help maximize and protect
investments in Indian country. The
federal agencies on the task force have
also been working together to
streamline grant paperwork
requirements for programs that fund
water infrastructure projects in Indian
country. These efforts will improve
tribal access to program funding and
benefits by awarding funds both more
quickly and with less administrative
burden for tribes.
                               The Clean Water Indian Set Aside Grant Program

 Annual Report 2012
  Public Health
Native Americans lack access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation in
disproportionate numbers, increasing the likelihood of public health threats such as
the risk of disease exposure and water-borne illnesses. Twelve percent of tribal
homes (as reported by IMS) do not have access to safe drinking water and/or
wastewater disposal facilities compared with approximately two-thirds of 1 % of non-
native homes in the United States (U.S. Census Bureau 2000). This disparity is
greatest on the Navajo Reservation and in Alaskan Native Villages.

Congress recently granted authority to allow for the transfer of funds between the
CWISA and the Drinking Water Infrastructure Grant Tribal Set Aside. This ability to
transfer funds increases EPA's ability to target infrastructure funding to the highest
priority drinking water and wastewater public health needs in Indian country.
Transferring funds will allow EPA Regions to focus EPA funding on more projects that
will immediately address critical  public health issues involving the lack of safe drinking
water access and basic sanitation. EPA plans to implement this authority in FY2013.
                            Ramah Lift Station Inspection, Navajo Nation May 2011.
                                 The Clean Water Indian Set Aside Grant Program

 Annual Report 2012
 Waters In and
Around Tribes
Since 2003, more than 63,000 tribal homes have been provided access to wastewater
sanitation. Failing wastewater systems can significantly impact the environment as old
and deteriorated pipelines or straight pipes allow untreated wastewater to flow into
rivers, streams, and other bodies of water. Many of these inadequate systems often
discharge raw, untreated sewage to streams and rivers which may have recreational,
aquatic life, and sacred tribal uses. These waters sometimes serve as a source of
subsistence fishing for tribes as well, compounding significant environmental
degradation with public health risks.
In general, systems serving small, economically stressed tribal communities face
various challenges, including remote locations that can be difficult to access and
limited institutional capacity. When tribal households must manually transport water
for daily use, such as some homes in Navajo Nation, there are significant costs to
productivity due to the time spent obtaining water. Tribes often have difficulty ensuring
sustainable access to services due to the lack of technical, financial, and managerial
capacity to oversee these systems. Unemployment on tribal lands can reach as high
as 70%. When possible, CWISA-funded projects hire local residents to assist with
building wastewater infrastructure that will serve their community.
                           Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant, Gila River Indian Community.
                                The Clean Water Indian Set Aside Grant Program

  Annual Report 2012
Tribal Capacity
Training in operation and maintenance is a critical
component to promoting sustainable water and
wastewater infrastructure. Trained system
operators and managers help ensure that
systems function properly and reach their designed
life cycles, helping to protect the original federal
investment. In 2011, EPA launched  a nationwide
initiative to train tribal operators and managers on
how best to efficiently and effectively use and
maintain their water and wastewater infrastructure,
protecting federal investment and increasing
national facility sustainability. In 2011-2012, nine
trainings were delivered to tribes across the country
to improve the skills and knowledge of water
infrastructure operations and maintenance, further
improving the technical capacity of local tribal
operators and managers and the longevity of
infrastructure. Each of the three-day training courses educated a wide range of
participants, including tribal  environmental managers, utility operators, and elected
officials. EPA has also released a series of on-line training modules covering an array
of operation, maintenance and system management issues at smaller drinking water
and wastewater facilities. The training modules can be found at: http://water.epa.gov/
      The Water/Wastewater
  Training in Billings, MT, was
     excellent. It covers every
    aspect of tribal community
   water/wast ewater systems,
  planning, operations, trouble
shooting, maintenance, record
 keeping and required reports.
   The Training improves and
  evolves with every session."
     - Dave Tonasket, Colville
         Confederated Tribes
 Environmental Trust Division,
 Onsite Wastewater Permitting
                                 Clean Water Indian Set Aside Grant
                                    Program Progress 2003 - 2012
                   FY2003   FY2004   FY2005   FY2006   FY2007   FY2008   FY2009   FY2010   FY2011  FY2012

               1 Number of homes provided wastewater service (peryear)   Number of homes provided wastewater service (cumulative)
                                   The Clean Water Indian Set Aside Grant Program

 Annual Report 2012
       Quality in the
     Nambe Pueblo
          Nambe Pueblo,
              New Mexico
     Nambe Pueblo Wastewater
            Treatment System
          Construction Project
Since 1968, the Nambe Pueblo had utilized an unlined lagoon system to handle
the community's wastewater needs. The sandy soils in the area are subject to a
high degree of percolation, which allowed untreated or undertreated wastewater to
seep from the lagoon into the local groundwater aquifer. This lagoon system also
contributed to high nitrate concentrations in downstream wells.

With  a $1 million investment from the EPA's Clean Water Indian Set Aside
(CWISA) Grant Program, the Indian Health Service designed and contracted the
construction of a new wastewater treatment facility for Nambe Pueblo that would
adequately treat the community's wastewater. This CWISA project spurred the
construction of modernized  infrastructure and provided local small businesses and
their employees valuable on-the-job experience. The work to construct these
facilities was completed by local businesses, including Saigan Construction, a local
Indian-owned small contracting business. Saigan Construction was struggling to
maintain construction jobs for the company in 2010 due to the poor economy.
Working on this project changed that, allowing Saigan Construction to keep current
employees employed and to hire approximately nine new employees.

The local community, including 41  Indian homes, non-Indian  homes in the Nambe
area, small business owners, and the tribal wastewater facility, benefited from this
project, helping to improve public health, the environment, and the economy.
         Tribe Takes
  'Control1  Of Sells
          Lift Station
        Tohono O'odham
          Nation, Arizona
              Sells Lift Station
          Construction Project
In Tohono O'odham Nation, 66 American Indian homes suffered from inadequate
wastewater collection and treatment. Outdated and poorly functioning wastewater
equipment was allowing raw sewage to contaminate local waterways. Since 1981,
the Tohono O'odham Utility Authority had relied on an old lift station in the
community of Sells that was causing frequent problems with its interconnection to
the main pipeline. Any failures due to the pumping equipment would allow raw
sewage to dump into the Sells Wash.

Through the CWISA Grant Program, EPA awarded $71,880 in ARRA funds and
the community was able to make necessary replacements to a sewer main,
forcemain connection and manholes, as well as to install new supervisory control
and data acquisition (SCADA) controls. The upgrades, which were completed by
the Tucson Area Indian Health Service, eliminated lift station failures and ensure
that basic sanitation needs are met.

This project included new automation and a submersible lift station, which is a
much more efficient technology and, therefore, lowers power costs. With the
SCADA remote capabilities, the lift station can be monitored and operated from a
                               The Clean Water Indian Set Aside Grant Program

         T                 laptop through the Internet from anywhere in the world. As a result of this
                           innovative infrastructure, the utility authority will not only expect a reduction in
                           their maintenance costs, fuel costs, and personnel time, they will also extend the

         Lift Station   life of the lift station-
            Continued   "Working with IMS and EPA has been a great experience for the Tribe," said
                           David Saddler, manager at the Tohono O'odham Utility Authority. "The [ARRA]
                           funds enabled us to improve and enhance our physical plants. Without these
                           funds, we would have been maintaining an old plant that had outlived its
                           recommended useful life."
                                         For  more  information,  please visit:
                                                                     ANN UAL REPORT 2012
                                                              The Clean Water Indian Set Aside Grant Program
  November 2012