Elizabeth Doney Havre Daily News
Something is rotten in the water supply at Rocky Boy reservation. A number of residents from the reservation said contaminated water became an issue Thursday night and continued through Friday afternoon. "The water contamination incident happened," said Lisa Peterson, Public Information Officer for Montana DEQ. "We were informed, but we are not really involved and do not know the specifics on it. We have offered technical assistance, but they have not requested our help, as of yet. I can't tell you much about it because it is under federal jurisdiction." An emergency meeting was called by the Rocky Boy Tribal Council with the Environmental Protection Agency and the local emergency response team at 2 p.m. Friday to address the matter. However, residents reported that law enforcement officials had been going door to door Thursday night telling people not to drink the water, not to bathe in it or even do laundry using the water. The Havre Daily News was told the emergency meeting was closed to the public, but included federal department heads and tribal administration personnel. Residents speculated that the contamination might have been caused by a chemical spill of degreaser entering the water supply. Other residents said they had reported the water problem to officials Wednesday, and the slow response caused concern. As of Friday afternoon, water towers were being drained and residents were being asked to keep their faucets running to aid the process. Tribal Council members, EPA official's, the Rocky Boy Health Board, Rocky Boy Environmental Health Chief were still in the emergency meeting at 3 p. m. According to a tribal administration office spokesperson, the debriefing continued to take place during the emergency meeting and a detailed plan of action will be distributed to the community, in addition to media releases at some point.