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News Releases from Region 08

Cleanup complete at former Sitting Bull College in Fort Yates, North Dakota

EPA funds used by Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to eliminate contamination at Brownfields property

07/07/2020
Contact Information: 
Laura Jenkins (Jenkins.Laura@epa.gov)
303-312-6256

Fort Yates, N.D. (July 7,2020):  Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has completed cleanup of asbestos and mold contamination at the Old Sitting Bull College in Fort Yates. The Tribe was awarded a $200,000 EPA Brownfields Grant in 2016 to pay for the cleanup, paving the way for demolition of the site and eventual land redevelopment.

“Completing this important clean-up effort improves public health and safety, reduces blight, and paves the way for redevelopment of the site for the Standing Rock Tribe.” said EPA Region 8 Administrator Gregory Sopkin. “We are pleased to be able to support the Tribe’s efforts through our Brownfield Redevelopment Program.”

“Contamination at the building was a major concern among the workers and the Tribe. We are very grateful it has been cleaned” said Hans Bradley, the Brownfields Coordinator for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

The Old Sitting Bull College was in poor condition with extensive water damage and mold. Additionally, the presence of asbestos containing floor tiles, as well as mastic and joint compound in the ceilings and walls, presented health risks to workers in the building.

The Tribe’s Child Protective Services occupied the building until December 2019, and many of the workers reported health conditions, including headaches and asthma, attributed to the mold and poor indoor air quality. The department has since relocated to new office space in Fort Yates.

At the request of the Tribe, EPA performed a Targeted Brownfields Assessments at the building in 2014, which identified the presence, and concentrations, of contamination in the building. With the contamination now removed, the Tribe can safely demolish the building to make way for redevelopment of the one- acre property.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has now used EPA brownfields funding to complete 12 cleanup and redevelopment projects since 2006.

Background:

A brownfield is a property for which the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. There are estimated to be more than 450,000 brownfields in the United States. EPA’s Brownfields program began in 1995 and has provided nearly $1.6 billion in brownfield grants nationwide to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return blighted properties to productive reuse. To date, brownfields investments have leveraged more than $32.6 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. Over the years, the relatively small investment of federal funding, from both public and private sources, leveraged more than 167,000 jobs.

For more on the Brownfields grants: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding

For more on EPA’s Brownfields program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfield