Colorado Economic Recovery and Accountability

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Press Release - Nearly $1M for Tribal Water Upgrades

OFFICE OF GOV. BILL RITTER, JR.

WWW.COLORADO.GOV/GOVERNOR


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WEDNESDAY, JULY 8, 2009


CONTACT:

Myung Oak Kim, 303.947.5708, myung.kim@state.co.us


GOV. RITTER WELCOMES NEARLY $1M FOR TRIBAL WATER UPGRADES

Gov. Bill Ritter today welcomed the announcement of $902,080 in Recovery Act funds to help improve water facilities at the Ute Mountain Ute reservation in southwest Colorado.

"Clean water resources are vital to the livelihoods of our tribes and communities across Colorado," Gov. Ritter said. "I'm grateful that Recovery Act funds will pay for improving water systems for Ute tribal members as well as more than 30 other water projects across the state."

The $902,080 grant to the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe is one of 12 grants announced today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The federal agencies allocated more than $9.5 million in grants from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to improve drinking water and wastewater services in 12 sovereign reservations in EPA's Mountains and Plains region (Region 8). Region 8 includes Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.

These grants are part of $90 million that the federal government is dedicating nationwide for 'shovel-ready' infrastructure projects designed to benefit Indian Country and create jobs. The funds will pay for projects that will help repair and upgrade water and drinking water infrastructure such as wastewater lagoon systems, sewer lines, water tanks and pipes.

The Colorado grant will pay for repair and expansion of two wastewater treatment facilities. The reservation depends on two lagoon systems, both located in Towaoc, for its wastewater needs.

"The two wastewater projects have been on the Tribal planning board for over five years awaiting funding," said Troy A. Ralstin, executive director of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. "The Recovery Act is allowing these needed projects to increase services to the Reservation and protect water quality."

The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe is based in Towaoc, Montezuma County, and has roughly 1,200 people. The reservation spans 575,000 acres, mostly in Colorado.

The federal government plans to use Recovery Act funds to pay for 95 wastewater and 64 drinking water priority projects. The Act requires that 20 percent of the funds be used for green infrastructure, water and energy efficiency improvements and other environmentally innovative projects.

More information about EPA Recovery Act water efforts is available at www.epa.gov/water/eparecovery/.