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EPA's Region 6 Office

Serving: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and 66 Tribal Nations

Ground Water Center: Tribal Source Water Assessment Team

The Office of Water has a commitment in the Agency's Tribal Strategy to provide an additional level of protection to the population served by tribal community water supply systems by conducting Source Water Assessments consistent with the Safe Drinking Water Act amendments of 1996 and, where needed, implementing Source Water Protection programs. Working collaboratively, the Region 6 Tribal Source Water Assessment Team (SWAT), Source Water Protection program staff and the Region's Tribal Drinking Water Program have conducted Source Water Assessments for tribal communtiy water supply systems that serve as a drinking water source for more than 72,000 Native Americans. Once completed, the assessments are being used by tribal governments and Region 6 to develop and implement source water protection programs that target those water supplies that are most at risk to contamination.

The initial step in determining protection needs centers on identifying potential sources of contamination that present the greatest risk to the drinking water suplly source. In February 2000, the Tribal SWAT designed and developed a semi-automated process for field use that manages source water assessment data and performs susceptibility analyses for drinking water sources. During FY 2001, state-of-the-art global positioning system instruments and laser range finders were used in the field to gather site specific data needed to conduct the assessments and a specialized computer code was written by the Team to inventory the potential contaminant sources and rate the water system's susceptibility to contamination. While in the field, the Team coordinated their data gathering efforts with the tribal drinking water and environmental program staff to ensure all data was collected.

Region 6 has reached its goal of having source water assessments for ALL tribal public water systems for which it has Direct Implementation responsibilities by the end of FY02. This initiative contributes to EPA's strategic plan goal of ensuring clean and safe drinking water for all Americans, through effective protection of our drinking water sources to maintain and improve public health. This report supplies current information as well as future goals for the Region 6 Source Water Assessment Program for tribal drinking water systems.

For additional information, please contact:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Ground Water Center - Region 6
1445 Ross Avenue, 6WQ-SG
Dallas, Texas 75202
Phone: (214) 665-7156
Fax: (214) 665-2191

Drinking Water ~ Ground Water ~ Underground Injection

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