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Rocky Boy's Tap Water Now Safe To Drink, EPA Says

Seal of the Chippewa Cree Tribes
Josh Burnham
Seal of the Chippewa Cree Tribes

Authorities say it is now safe for people living on the Rocky Boy's Reservation to drink their tap water again. The Environmental Protection Agency lifted a boil order today.

The order was issued December 22 after several waterline breaks depleted the area’s rural water supply and left more than 2,000 people without clean drinking water.

Dustin White is the director of the Chippewa Cree Tribal Water Resources Division, which has been handing out and delivering a few hundred cases of bottled water per day since December 23:

"This break kind of brought to daylight the need for the upgrades. It exposed us to where our shortfalls are, not only with the old system but with our source water," White says.

Water delivery and repairs to the pipes cost the the Tribal Water Resources Division roughly $70,000 over the past three weeks.

White says the Tribe submitted an emergency declaration with the Montana Department of Emergency Services last Tuesday to partially reimburse the division for purchasing and delivering water.

Today the Tribe signed a funding request agreement with Indian Health Service for $13,000 in reimbursement to cover repair costs. Senator Steve Daines lobbied IHS on behalf of the Chippewa Cree Tribes last week.

Nicky is MTPR's Flathead-area reporter.