Water systems located within a tribal reservation are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This includes all three types of tribal land.
- Tribal trust land is held in trust by the federal government for the benefit of the tribe and cannot be sold without the approval of the federal government. Tribal trust land is not subject to municipal, county, state, or federal taxes.
- Allotted land or individual trust land is land within the reservation held in trust by the federal government for the benefit of individual Native Americans.
- Fee land that is within a reservation is land without any restriction on its sale. Fee land may be owned by non-Native Americans. Some fee land is located outside of a tribal reservation.
Some fee land is located outside of a tribal reservation. Water systems on fee land located outside of a tribal reservation is regulated by DOH Office of Drinking Water (ODW), or by the local health jurisdiction, if it is a Group B system and the local health jurisdiction has a Group B program.
New water systems within a tribal reservation. Submit project reports and construction documents to R10TribalDW@epa.gov with copies (cc) to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Develop submittal documents in accordance with Washington State's Water System Design Manual 331-123 (PDF).
Existing water systems within a tribal reservation. ODW continues to regulate some existing water systems (few than 100) located on tribal reservations. We are working with EPA on transferring regulatory oversight for these systems from ODW to EPA, seeking to ensure that the transition is seamless, efficient, and, most importantly, the drinking water provided to customers remains safe and reliable.
If you are uncertain as to whether a water system falls within tribal reservation boundaries, or if you have other questions, please consult with your regional engineer.