U.S. SENATE —U.S. Senator Steve Daines today announced that the Indian Health Service (IHS) has complied with Daines’ request for emergency funding to repair the on-reservation water system in light of recent breakages and contamination.
“The repairs to the tribe’s water system are critical for wellbeing of the Chippewa Cree tribal members, ” Daines stated. “I’m pleased that Chippewa Cree Tribe will once again have access to safe drinking water.”
Harlan Baker, Chippewa Cree Tribal Chairman: “I want to thank Senator Daines and his staff for all the assistance they afforded the Chippewa Cree tribe during our emergency situation, along with IHS for their quick response and diligence.”
Dustin White, Tribal Water Resources Department Director-Interim, Chippewa Cree Tribe: “Today the Chippewa Cree Tribe signed an Emergency Funding Agreement with the Indian Health Service for financial assistance associated with the Emergency Declaration-Rocky Boy Rural Water (Newtown) System. The funding agreement will allocate up to $13,000 for mainline repair cost. This agreement will help reimburse a very stressed budget due to all the expenses the Water Department have paid out since this Emergency started on December 22nd, 2016. We want to thank Senator Daines for all his help coordinating with Indian Health Service and assisting the Chippewa Cree Tribe in securing these Emergency Funds.”
On January 5, Daines urged Mary Smith, the Principal Deputy Director of IHS to immediately act on the Chippewa Cree Tribe’s request to ensure water delivery and water safety.
On December 22, the Rocky Boy Rural Water System reported a loss of pressure resulting in approximately 115 homes and various commercial buildings being without water and pressure loss in the system.
On December 23, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an Emergency Administrative Order requiring that all water in the system be boiled prior to use.
From December 22 to December 27, the system experienced six additional water pipe breaks in the crawl spaces of residential homes and two water main breaks. In the meantime, the tribe has been distributing water bottles to those affected, including delivery to community elders and those with disabilities.