Southern Ute Indian Tribe

Environmental Compliance and Brownfields Programs

epd department logo

Acting Compliance Manager

Peter Diethrich
970-563-2269

Brownfields Coordinator

970-563-2217


Mission

The Environmental Compliance Program’s mission is to protect and sustain the environment through compliance with planning responsible future activities to minimize environmental impacts, conserve the irreplaceable natural and cultural resources, and to maximize pollution prevention.

The Brownfields Program mission is to assess and remediate potentially hazardous sites on Tribal Land, abandoned properties, and new real estate to ensure protection of natural resources.

Brownfields are real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.


The Environmental Compliance and Brownfields Program coordinates compliance and enforcement activities among the Tribal Council, Lands, Property and Facilities Management, Forestry, Wildlife, Range, Energy, Natural Resources Enforcement, BIA, USEPA, USACE, and other appropriate Federal Agencies, and responds as part of a team of several Tribal programs to hazardous materials incidents. The Compliance Program works with Tribal Water Quality, Air Quality, and General Assistance Programs to ensure environmental compliance on Tribal land.

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Hazardous Materials event response

The Brownfields Program is authorized under Section 128(a) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and managed by USEPA. SUIT is one of 22 Federally Recognized Tribes in USEPA Region 8 with a Brownfields Program.

Since 2005, the Environmental Compliance and Brownfields Program has responded to reports of over 70 potentially hazardous sites on the SUIT Reservation. Please contact the Brownfields Coordinator to see the Inventory and records for these sites, and to request a site assessment.


SUIT Brownfields Public Record

 

Brownfields Program Core Elements

  1. Timely survey and inventory of brownfield sites.
  2. Oversight and enforcement authorities, or other mechanisms and resources, that are adequate to ensure that a response action will protect human health and the environment and is completed.
  3. Opportunities for meaningful public participation.
  4. Mechanisms for approval of a cleanup plan and verification that a response is complete.

 

2019-2020 Priority Brownfields Sites

Clinic Shed

Priority: Various chemicals were stored together and out of compliance causing a safety hazard to anyone in the area.

Status: In April 2019, a contractor to the Tribe characterized and properly disposed 50 different items and substances found in a small shed behind the Health Clinic, adjacent to Highway 172. The contractor provided Waste Manifests documenting proper disposal in an appropriate facility.

Engineering/Institutional Controls: The shed was locked. An Institutional Control for safe chemical storage is the SUIT Health and Safety Program.



Annex Building

Photo by Jeremy Wade Shockley/Southern Ute Drum

Priority: This building is occupied by employees, has cultural and historic significance, and is prominently located on the Tribal Campus.

Status: A contractor to the Tribe assessed the building in 2016 and performed asbestos abatement. Next, qualified personnel will verify that the cleanup is protective and complete and implement recommended Engineering and Institutional Controls.

Engineering/Institutional Controls: EPD sent a Memorandum of site status to relevant Departments and coordinated with the Building Maintenance Division to hang safety signs. EPD will develop an Operations and Maintenance Plan, with assistance from a qualified contractor and input from Building Maintenance Division, to safely manage remaining hazards. Engineering controls include locking the crawlspace, and potentially installing a vapor barrier, encapsulating lead-based paint, and removing other potential hazards.



Old Cafeteria Building

Priority: The building has historic significance, is prominently located on the Tribal Campus, and near a school.

Status: USEPA Contractors assessed the site in November 2010 and found Recognized Environmental Conditions (asbestos, lead-based paint, PCBs, and mercury) as well as eligibility for Historic Preservation. However, Environmental Assessments are only valid for 1 year per standards, since site conditions may have changed over time, and there may be new awareness of different types of hazardous building materials to inventory (for example: NASA alerted environmental professionals to test for PCBs in window caulking). Next, EPD will oversee an Assessment of current conditions, and review a cleanup plan for sufficiency. After this, qualified personnel will verify if the cleanup is protective and complete.

Engineering/Institutional Controls: The building is locked and closed by the Building Maintenance Division and requires a special request to enter. EPD may develop more Engineering/Institutional Controls depending on plans for the site.


“THERM-O-MATIC” PCB-containing Fluorescent Light Ballast, holds mercury-containing fluorescent light tubes (photo from Old Cafeteria).



Old KSUT Building

Priority: This building is occupied by employees, has historic significance, is well-known to the local community, and is prominently located on the Tribal Campus.

Status: USEPA Contractors assessed the site in 2014 and found Recognized Environmental Conditions including lead-based paint, lead contamination in soil, and asbestos and mercury-containing building materials. Since this Assessment is 5 years old, next EPD will oversee an Assessment of current conditions, and review a cleanup plan for sufficiency. After this, qualified personnel will verify if the cleanup is protective and complete.

Institutional Controls: Employees occupying the building are aware of the Recognized Environmental Conditions and avoid disturbing hazardous building materials. EPD may develop more Engineering/Institutional Controls depending on plans for the site.



Services Provided to the Tribal Membership

  • Maintains a current Public Record of reported hazardous sites, response actions planned and completed, and site restrictions.
  • Assists with Real Estate Transactions to protect buyers from liability for environmental contamination, by performing Environmental Site Assessments according to American Society for Testing and Materials standards and federal regulations.
  • Responds to requests for property assessments for environmental conditions, regulated building materials, and other hazards.
  • Responds to hazardous materials reports, spills, and emergencies.
  • Supports Worker Safety and community health by communicating site hazards with signs and maintaining Institutional and Engineering Controls.
  • Assists with Operations and Maintenance Plans to protect workers and building occupants from exposure to health hazards from environmental conditions.
  • Provides Education and Outreach on health and safety, avoiding exposure to hazardous materials, and resources for property development.