The Water Quality Coordinator monitors the groundwater or aquifer of the Yerington Paiute Tribe Reservation serving tribal municipal and irrigation wells and the wetlands. This aquifer has been negatively impacted by the leaching of contaminants used in ore processing by the Anaconda Mine Site.
We track the extent of the groundwater contaminate migration through nine monitoring wells, three surface water test points, the Wabuska Drain, the Campbell Ditch and the wetlands on the reservation. Through our monitoring efforts, enough quality data is generated to be used in decision-making associated with environmental cleanup and restoration.
Our data can be accessed through the yearly Water Quality Assessment Report or the Water Quality Portal.
The Water Quality Portal (WQP) is a cooperative service sponsored by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Water Quality Monitoring Council (NWQMC). It serves data collected by over 400 state, federal, tribal and local agencies.
<water quality portal link>
After accessing this site, go to “download data” and enter the following parameters to access our site. Under Location: enter Country, State and County using dropdown menus. Under Site Parameters enter YER in both Organization ID and Site ID. This will bring up Yerington. We have two monitor sites, Well #10 and Well #12. Select the format you want to download the report in, select the report (recommend: Sample Results – Biological/Chemical Metadata or Sample Results – Narrow), download.
Nonpoint Source Pollution
Nonpoint source (NPS) pollution (aka polluted runoff) occurs when rainfall, snowmelt, or irrigation water runs over land or through the ground, picks up pollutants, and transports them into surface waters or ground water. Though the relative impact from a few nonpoint pollution sources might be small, the cumulative effect from many nonpoint sources degrades water quality. In fact, NPS pollution is the leading source of water quality problems in the United States. Major nonpoint sources of pollution often include agricultural practices; unrestricted livestock grazing; poor siting and design of roads, highways, and bridges; forestry; urban runoff; abandoned mines; construction sites; channelization of streams; and hydro modification, such as building and maintaining dams and levees. Other sources include lawn and garden maintenance, malfunctioning septic systems, constructing marinas, boating, and storm drain dumping.
(Handbook for Developing and Managing Tribal Nonpoint Source Pollution Programs Under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act, 2010)
On the Yerington Paiute Reservation, NPS pollution is the leading cause of water pollution. The Yerington Paiute Tribe’s ground and surface waters have been significantly impacted by off reservation activities. The prime concerns of the Tribe are resource extraction, exploration mining, economic development, and agriculture. Examples include mine tailings and surface mining, along with irrigation, pasture, range land, and storm water runoff.
(Yerington Paiute Tribe Nonpoint Source Assessment Report and Management Program Plan, 2013)
The underlying mission of the NPS program is to prevent, control, and decrease the impacts of nonpoint source pollution on the quality of the Tribe’s surface water through public outreach/education, source reduction, improved watershed planning and management and the implementation of best management practices.
(Nevada Nonpoint Source Management Plan, 2015)
Here are program goals for Fiscal Year 2021:
- Develop Nonpoint Source Ordinance to reinforce Best Management Practices on the Yerington Paiute Tribe.
- Train Coordinator on 319 regulations and Nonpoint Source pollution and controls. ∙ Implement Best Management Practices identified in the nonpoint source assessment report and management plan.
- Educate Tribal Community on the importance of water quality protection and nonpoint source pollution control program.
YPT Clean Air Act
The objective of YPT Clean Air Act is to:
- Help build the tribes capacity to assess air quality conditions and to develop strategies to address air quality issues.
- Monitor ambient concentrations of fine particulate matter and its elemental constituents of health impacts due to air quality on tribal members due to a historical and potential continued release by the Anaconda Yerington Mine Site.
- Promote the health, social welfare, and economic well-being of the Yerington Paiute Tribe.
- Reporting air quality data to a new cloud based application called the Quality Review and Exchange Systems for Tribes (QREST). The QREST is a tool that allows tribal programs to manage and report their air monitoring data.
- Feel free to check out the QREST website that provides air quality data that is currently being collected at the Campbell Ranch Tribal Reservation.
<qrest website link>
GENERAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM ACT
In 1992, Congress passed the Indian Environmental General Assistance Program Act. This act authorized EPA to provide General Assistance Program (GAP) grants to federally recognized tribes and tribal consortia for planning, developing and establishing environmental protection programs in Indian country, and for developing and implementing solid and hazardous waste programs on tribal lands.
The goal of GAP is to assist tribes and intertribal consortia in developing the capacity to manage their own environmental protection programs and to develop and implement solid and hazardous waste programs in accordance with individual tribal needs and applicable federal laws and regulations.
The GAP Program also provides the YPT Environmental Department with funding for general public outreach and environmental education or awareness. The following is a list of some of our goals for FY21.
<offical gap link>
- Attend relevant trainings.
- Sustain the current grant program and research other possible grants as needed or requested by the Tribal Council to assist with capacity development.
- Setting drinking water codes and ordinances to treat the water to remove contaminants to protect drinking water and its sources- Campbell ditch, groundwater wells, and the Wabuska drain.
- Develop a drinking water utility ordinance.
- Develop policies and procedures for consultation by working in collaboration with ITCN-Tribal Environmental Liaison and NV Indian Commission.
- Educate the Tribal community on environmental issues and potential adverse impacts to its environment.
- Develop new methods for community outreach.
- Host roadside cleanup activities and a household hazardous waste collection event as part of the Tribes annual Earth Day event.
- Summer Youth Program learning activity.
- Hire a Tribal youth intern.
- Improve YPT Emergency Response and Remediation Program capacity.
- Develop a curbside pickup feasibility study.
- Host an annual electronic waste reduction/recycling event.
- Update the Tribal Environmental Plan.
- Complete a QAPP and a baseline assessment for an indoor air program.
- Provide outreach to the community related to indoor air quality.
- Attend the annual EPA Region 9 Tribal conference and other EPA workshops to enhance the Environmental Office.
- Update the Tribal Environmental Plan.
“Making the world a better place for our future when our lands are no longer contaminated.”
A brownfield is a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. It is estimated that there are more than 450,000 brownfields in the US. Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties increases local tax bases, facilitates job growth, utilizes existing infrastructure, takes development pressures off of undeveloped open land, and both improves and protects the environment. The program is designed to empower states, communities, and other stakeholders to work together to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse brownfields.
Any tribal members (especially elders that have historical knowledge of our lands) who are aware of areas that might qualify as a possible brownfield site, please contact Gary Tom at the environmental office. This valuable information can help guide cleanup activities as well as provide awareness to contaminated areas. Effort will be made to investigate the possibility of contamination and take action if approved.
Below are the Brownfields public record (current brownfields sites approved by Tribal Council) and a list of potential brownfield sites for consideration. Community feedback is an excellent mechanism for adding sites to the list of consideration, which will then be reviewed for addition to the public record.
Brownfields Public Record.xlsx
Brownfields Public Record.xlsx