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Judge signs off on Fort Belknap water plan


December 5, 2013

HELENA (AP) — A federal judge has approved a plan to fix years of problems with how the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation's drinking water has been treated and monitored.

U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen on Monday approved the agreement between Department of Justice and tribal officials. It requires the tribal utility company to increase staffing levels, pay in advance the cost of operating the water-treatment plant and follow strict reporting requirements.

The tribal government was fined $1,500 for what the Environmental Protection Agency described as years of violations despite corrective orders dating back to 2004.

The EPA found the tribal government repeatedly failed to treat, report and monitor the water supply for excessive levels of bacteria, parasites and sediment.

EPA officials say the agreement has been in the works since 2009.


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