Environmental Justice & Source Water Protection on the Prairie Band Potawatomi Reservation
From ITEP Team
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This presentation was delivered as an On Demand session at the Tribal Lands and Environment Forum: Virtual Gathering in August 2020 by Virginia LeClere, Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation.
Approximately 17% of Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation (PBPN) Reservation residents utilize private wells to meet their drinking water needs. Contaminants in groundwater can cause gastrointestinal illness, reproductive and neurological illnesses. Reducing risk is particularly imperative for populations with compromised immune systems. The PBPN received an Environmental Justice Grant aimed at reducing groundwater contamination and essentially protecting the health of community residents. The EJ project focused on increasing technical capacity for PBPN equipment operators, who will then utilize adopted best management practices for well closure/wellhead protection, storm water management and lagoon installation & maintenance. The collaborative effort of PBPN Tribal departments and federal agencies such as Indian Health Services and Bureau of Indian Affairs required ongoing communication, training, information exchange and educational outreach.