Committed to providing program management tools to rural water systems, 120Water has been selected by the Cherokee Nation as its Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) database of record. The partnership will expand on a successful pilot carried out earlier this year, assisting in the preparation of Lead Service Line Inventories (LSLI) for 25 small systems across northeast Oklahoma. The announcement took place yesterday at the Facilities Construction Spring Meeting in Shawnee, hosted by the Indian Health Services (IHS) Office of Environmental Health & Engineering.
“Since 1839, the Cherokee Nation has dedicated itself to protecting and improving the livelihood of our tribal community,” said Cherokee Nation Senior Director of Environmental Health & Engineering Billy Hix. “We are grateful to have found a partner that shares this commitment and comes with extensive experience working with communities that are of similar size to those within our territory. We feel confident their experience will correlate directly to our success achieving LCRR compliance.”
As the first major stipulation outlined in the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR), water utilities have until October 16, 2024, to establish a preliminary inventory of all service line materials. Information must be digital and submitted to the governing body responsible for reporting in each state, which for the Cherokee Nation is the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ). The 120Water contract includes historical records review and inventory development, with funding assistance provided by the IHS.
The partnership announcement comes on the heels of the release of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 7th Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment (DWINSA), which estimates $625 billion needed over the next 20 years to maintain and modernize water infrastructure. Report findings were used to determine annual funding to states through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). With a prediction of more than 28,000 lead service lines, Oklahoma is slated to receive $28.6 million specifically for Lead Service Line Replacement (LSLR) improvements across the state. An additional $60 million has been set aside for American Indian and Alaska Native water systems nationally. The Cherokee Nation hopes its work with 120Water will assist in helping obtain funds required to continue the lead remediation process beyond inventorying.
Hix adds, “This first phase of our work with 120Water is only the tip of the iceberg. We have a total of just over 130 utilities within our reservation that also have to comply with the many facets of LCRR. It’s the first step in a long journey ahead.”
Encompassing nearly 7,000 square miles, the Cherokee Nation is a sovereign tribal government with more than 141,000 citizens residing within its reservation boundaries. Representatives from 120Water at today’s event included: Regional Sales Manager Jon Dawson, Director of Client Success Logan Turner, and Vice President of Sales Matt Boes.
120Water is the comprehensive solution used by water professionals across the country to manage critical lead and drinking water programs. Comprised of secure cloud-based software services and point-of-use kits, 120Water’s solution provides tailored workflows for complying with lead and water quality programs to protect public health. Working with hundreds of utilities across 41 states, 120Water is in the process of inventorying over 3 million service lines that impact more than 10 million individuals. Their team of water, policy and technology experts have supported over 8,000 sampling events, partnering with the National Rural Water Association (NRWA), water systems and government agencies such as Citizens Energy Group, the City of Providence, RI, the City of Asheville, NC, and Chicago Public Schools to protect public health and provide clean drinking water to all communities. To learn more, visit 120Water.com or follow them on Twitter @120_Water.