Where: Arizona and California
Problem: Native American tribes need hands-on technical assistance and training to ensure members have access to safe drinking water in Indian Country
Solution: RCAC Tribal Circuit Rider Program
For more than 20 years, RCAC has provided ongoing, dedicated assistance to Arizona and California tribes to build their capacity to provide safe water to their members in accordance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Safe Drinking Water Act.
RCAC serves 20 tribes in Arizona under a contract with EPA Region 9. The work occurs primarily in the field, using a “circuit rider” approach. RCAC’s circuit riders conducted 300 drinking water and wastewater technical assistance site visits on tribal lands in Arizona in 2014. On-site trainings included: sample collection, preservation and transportation procedures; activated sludge process control techniques; and tanks, pumps, piping, distribution and wastewater operations.
Randy Wolff, CEO of the Moenkopi Developers Corporation said, “The Upper Village of Moenkopi relies on RCAC for technical assistance for both water and wastewater. We don’t know where else we would get the knowledge needed to operate our complex water and wastewater utilities.”
RCAC formed the Native American Water Masters Association (NAWMA) to enhance its services to tribes. Initiated in 2013, the Arizona Chapter of NAWMA is a meeting and training forum for tribally-owned and operated public water systems’ personnel in the state, which focuses on improving compliance with Safe Drinking Water Act regulatory requirements. Trainings are also provided on system operations and maintenance, and best practices to maintain drinking water quality.
“Without the support of RCAC, this department would have a difficult time keeping our operators up-to-date on the ever changing water monitoring requirements,” said Edmund Domingues, director of the Public Works Department of the Cocopah Indian Tribe. “The professional knowledge the RCAC circuit riders bring to their work with our operators is fantastic.”