Water Quality

PUBLIC WATER SYSTEM

CLEAN WATER ACT SECTION 106 PROGRAM

 

Water Quality

Clean Water Act Section 106

The Sac and Fox Nation Office of Environmental Services has been monitoring surface waters within its jurisdictional boundaries since 2002 through funding from the US Environmental Protection Agency Section 106 of the Clean Water Act. 

The grant allows for the testing of biological, chemical, and physical parameters on water bodies within Sac and Fox Nation’s jurisdictional boundaries.  A few of the many parameters currently being tested includes: E. coli, turbidity, temperature, pH, conductivity, flow, nitrates, nitrites, phosphorus, hydrocarbons, and heavy metals.  The OES staff has also been collecting macroinvertebrates and fish for identification and assessment of stream health.  Habitat assessments are also conducted during biological collection events.

A Tribal Assessment Report (TAR) is created after each grant project period is completed. The TAR provides detailed analysis of the data collected during the grant’s project period regarding the condition of the Nation’s surface waters and beneficial uses.

Drinking Water

Sac and Fox Nation tribal members who have water wells in rural communities are now eligible to have their water tested in limited numbers.  The Rural Well Drinking Water Baseline Assessment began in 2008 through funding by the US Environmental Protection Agency under the General Assistance Program (GAP) and the Clean Water Act Section 106 Grant Program.  In 2009, the service became fully funded through the 106 program, making testing available to limited number of tribal households each grant project period.

In 2009, the Office of Environmental Services staff began serving as the tribal water operators for the Nation’s Public Water Supply (PWS) located at the SFN Tribal Complex in Stroud.  OES staff facilitated the changing of reporting primacy from the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality to the US Environmental Protection Agency in 2009.  Guidance, training, and certification under the USEPA ensure that the Nation’s water system meets or exceeds federal standards.  Currently the PWS and its wells and pipelines are operated and maintained by the Sac and Fox Nation’s Maintenance Department.  OES staff ensures Regulatory Compliance under the Safe Drinking Water Act is maintained and performs compliance monitoring and non-compliance sample collections.  A Consumer Confidence Report is prepared and posted every summer.

Partnerships

The Water Quality Division often seeks the assistance and expertise of many outside agencies including: Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Fisheries Division, Oklahoma Conservation Commission Blue Thumb, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Oklahoma State University Zoology Department, US Geological Survey, Oklahoma Water Resources Board, Inter-tribal Environmental Council, local laboratories, neighboring tribes, and tribes across the U.S. 

TECO (Tribal Environmental Coalition in Oklahoma) a partnership of several tribes in the State.  The meetings are hosted every odd numbered month at the Sac and Fox Nation’s Learning Center located in Stroud, Oklahoma.   This partnership brings educational and informational resources together for multiple tribes to attend and learn from other professionals.

ITEC (Intertribal Environmental Council) is a partnership of most of the tribes across the region.  This council is administered by the Cherokee Nation.  This council addresses many tribal concerns for Region 6 with a concentrated joint supported approach to the EPA and other agencies.

Future Water Quality Goals

The Sac and Fox Nation Office of Environmental Services is in the process of establishing 5, 10, and 20 year goals for water resources management and water quality.  CWA sec. 106 program include extending monitoring to Veteran’s Lake and adding testing for hydrocarbons quarterly.  Additionally, securing funding for Non-point source pollution projects, establishing and enforcing water quality standards, creating a watershed management plan, and continued education and outreach is anticipated.

Links

USEPA Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds

http://www.epa.gov/owow/index.html

Tribal Drinking Water

http://www.epa.gov/safewater/tribal.html

Tribal Nonpoint Source Pollution

http://www.epa.gov/owow/nps/tribal/

Tribal Water Quality Standards

http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/tribes/

Tribal Wetlands

http://www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/initiative/

Blue Thumb Education and Volunteer Program

http://www.ok.gov/conservation/Blue_Thumb/index.html

US Fish and Wildlife Service National Wetlands Inventory

 http://www.fws.gov/wetlands/

Oklahoma Biological Survey, Wetland and Aquatic Plants of Oklahoma http://www.biosurvey.ou.edu/wetland/index.html

ITEC Intertribal Environmental Council

http://www.itecmembers.org/

Dale Miller is the Nation’s Water Quality Specialist and has been with the SFN OES since February of 2015.  Dale earned an Associate of Arts degree in Primary and Secondary Education in 2000 from ENMU Roswell, NM and is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Engineering from American Public University.  Dale is committed to the education and future protection of the Sac and Fox Nation’s water.   Dale believes that protecting the environment for the future generations begins now with every choice made affecting the future.