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U.S. EPA issues emergency order to Grindstone Indian Rancheria drinking water system

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Soledad Calvino (

Elk Creek, Calif. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered the Grindstone Indian Rancheria near Elk Creek, California, to provide alternative drinking water to rancheria water system costumers, disinfect the system’s water and monitor the water for contamination.

“EPA is committed to protecting public health and ensuring that steps are taken to provide Grindstone Indian Rancheria’s residents with safe and clean drinking water,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “This order requires measures to ensure compliance with important laws that help protect communities.”

The Grindstone Indian Rancheria Public Water System serves approximately 150 residents. The system uses water from Stony Creek, which has numerous potential contaminants from agricultural, municipal and industrial operations. EPA found the system was not complying with a 2017 drinking water order by not properly disinfecting the system’s water and not employing a certified drinking water operator.

The order requires Grindstone Indian Rancheria Public Water System to:

  • Provide at least one gallon of water per person per day for every individual served by the system.
  • Immediately procure and continuously use National Sanitation Foundation International certified and Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act registered approved chlorine disinfectant.
  • Employ a qualified drinking water operator.
  • Adequately fund the system’s operations.
  • Issue a boil water notice to all customers.
  • Properly monitor the system’s water and report findings to the EPA.

Failure to comply with the EPA’s order could result in penalties levied against the Grindstone Indian Rancheria Public Water System of up to $23,963 per day.

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