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U.S. EPA, Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian Tribe, host public event

Release Date: 02/06/2008
Contact Information: Francisco Arcaute, (213) 244-1815, cell (213) 798-1404,

For Immediate Release: February 6, 2008

Torres Martinez Solid Waste Collaborative public event highlights fire reduction, waste dump cleanups, student awards

LOS ANGELES - Dump cleanups, student leadership and fewer fires are among the successes to be addressed at the Torres Martinez Solid Waste Collaborative public event in Thermal, Calif., presented by the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian Tribe and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Thursday, Feb. 7 meeting will highlight recent achievements made by the Torres Martinez Solid Waste Collaborative. The Collaborative is a group of 25 federal, tribal, state, local, and non-governmental organizations that have clamped down on illegal dumping on the Torres Martinez Reservation. Recent successes include:
    closing all dumps on the reservation;
    substantially reducing dump fires;
    cleaning up over 20 dumps;
    using enforcement to improve waste management practices; and
    preparing former dump sites for productive reuse.
“By working together, the Torres Martinez Collaborative has accomplished far more than any individual or group could do alone” said Jeff Scott, Director of
EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region’s Communities and Ecosystems Division. “Illegal dumping created a serious health threat to people, particularly children, from potential exposure to toxins and toxic smoke.”

In addition, students from nearby Desert Mirage High School will be honored by EPA with Environmental Leadership awards. The awards recognize their efforts in producing both a documentary “The Contaminated Valley” documentary and a public service announcement on the dangers of burning chromated copper arsenate (CCA) treated wood.

At the end of the meeting, Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian Tribal officials will lead accredited members of the press and elected officials on a tour of the tribe’s Salton Sea Wetlands restoration project.

The Torres Martinez Indian Reservation is located in the agriculturally rich Coachella Valley. The Valley is a rapidly developing area with historic illegal dumpling problems, particularly construction, demolition, and agricultural waste.

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