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Summary of EPA actions to ensure safe drinking water on Montana Tribal lands

Release Date: 12/06/2007
Contact Information: Diane Sipe, 303-312-6391, David Janik, 303-312-6917,

(Denver, Colo., Dec. 6, 2007) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 8 issued 2 administrative orders and 2 emergency administrative orders to public water systems on Tribal lands in Montana from April 2007 through September 2007.

EPA issues an emergency order when there is a potential for imminent and substantial endangerment to public health, such as when acute contaminants have been identified in a public water system or when the water system has experienced a disruption that may endanger public health.

EPA issued an emergency administrative order on May 30, 2007, to Rocky Boy Utilities for the Rocky Boy’s Rural Water System (Newtown), Rocky Boy’s Reservation when the distribution system lost pressure. An emergency administrative order was also issued on August 24, 2007 to the Lodgepole Housing Water System, Lodgepole, MT for the presence of fecal coliform bacteria. For these two water systems, the drinking water no longer presents an imminent threat to public health.

EPA issues an administrative order when a public water system violates the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and its regulations. An administrative order requires the public water system to comply with the drinking water regulations that it violated and includes action items for returning to compliance. EPA issued administrative orders to the following public water systems:

Pretty Eagle School,
St. Xavier, Mont.
Fort Belknap Agency Water System,
Fort Belknap Agency, Mont.

The SDWA establishes specific regulations to assure the safety of public drinking water.

EPA Region 8 oversees the protection of public health and the environment in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming and on Tribal lands in these states. Compliance and enforcement are important components of public health and environmental protection which encourage governments, businesses and other regulated entities to meet their environmental and public health obligations.