The Omaha Tribe of Nebraska, a federally recognized Native American tribe located in northeastern Nebraska, and the Tribe’s Utilities Commission have reached a settlement with the United States to improve the Tribe’s drinking and wastewater systems and its trash collection program.
The settlement, in the form of a judicial Consent Decree filed with the U.S. District Court of Nebraska, resolves the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s claims that the Tribe failed to comply with a 2011 EPA Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) alleging longstanding violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Clean Water Act.
The settlement requires the Tribe to implement utilities improvements valued at approximately $1 million and pay a civil penalty of $2,000.
The Consent Decree addresses utilities serving the towns of Macy and Walthill, Neb., on the Omaha Reservation: the Macy Public Water System, the Macy Public Wastewater Treatment Facility, and the solid waste collection system. Collectively, the utilities serve approximately 310 residential households and 32 commercial customers. The utilities are operated by the Omaha Tribal Utility Commission on behalf of the Omaha Tribe.
Violations of the AOC included failure to provide timely notice to the public and to EPA of numerous significant pressure losses and water outages associated with the drinking water system; failure to submit utilities budgets and operating plans; failure to perform necessary repairs and conduct required monitoring and reporting for the drinking and waste water systems; and failure to clean up the extensive open dump located at the Tribe’s Mother Earth Recycling Center.