2010 Progress Report: Community Based Risk Assessment of Exposure to Contaminants via Water Sources on the Crow Reservation in Montana

EPA Grant Number: R833706
Title: Community Based Risk Assessment of Exposure to Contaminants via Water Sources on the Crow Reservation in Montana
Investigators: Ford, Timothy E.
Current Investigators: Ford, Timothy E. , Camper, Anne
Institution: University of New England - University Campus
Current Institution: University of New England - University Campus , Montana State University - Bozeman
EPA Project Officer: McOliver, Cynthia
Project Period: June 1, 2009 through May 31, 2012 (Extended to May 31, 2014)
Project Period Covered by this Report: June 1, 2009 through May 31,2010
Project Amount: $329,532
RFA: Issues in Tribal Environmental Research and Health Promotion: Novel Approaches for Assessing and Managing Cumulative Risks and Impacts of Global Climate Change (2007) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Environmental Justice , Global Climate Change , Tribal Environmental Health Research , Health , Climate Change


  1. Establish a sampling and analysis program to assess contaminant loadings to water and to aquatic/wetland subsistence foods;
  2. Evaluate lifestyle and cultural practices that contribute to exposure risk from water sources;
  3. Supplement the current LifeLine TribalTM software to include water contamination and exposure factors specific to Reservation settings; and
  4. Design and support culturally appropriate risk communication and risk management measures that minimize impact on subsistence and other traditional practices, and which may be transferable to other Tribes.

Progress Summary:

This is a community-based participatory research (CBPR) project and therefore the objectives are guidelines to the researchers and to the community; however, final decisions on specific objectives are community driven. Funding for methods development and data analysis under this contract is complemented by NIH funding for a community based risk assessment of exposure to contaminants through water sources and select subsistence foods. The work is being done collaboratively by the Crow Reservation, Montana State University Bozeman and the University of New England. The project is primarily guided by the Crow Environmental Health Steering Committee. The Steering Committee includes representatives of the Crow Tribe, Little Big Horn College (LBHC - the tribal college for the reservation), the Apsaalooke (Crow) Water and Wastewater Authority, the local Indian Health Service Hospital, and the 107 Committee of Tribal Elders.

As of June 30, 2010, a total of 75 participants from 50 homes on the Crow Reservation had completed surveys, had their wells tested and received reports back from us. An additional 11 participants have recently completed surveys and are awaiting scheduling of well water sampling. The reports mailed to homeowners describe their water quality, identify any health and plumbing maintenance issues, and suggest treatment needed. Letters also include handouts on contaminants found, a booklet on water treatment options and a CD on well and septic system maintenance. The CD includes a demonstration of how to shock chlorinate a well. Our Coordinator at LBHC follows up in person, as many homeowners find it helpful to have the results explained in person (and often in the Crow language) or they have additional questions.

Future Activities:

  • Begin to analyze survey and water quality data and test the utility of the Lifeline™ Software in building a comparative risk assessment with this data.
  • Complete the fieldwork and survey administration and identify data gaps.
  • Hold informational meetings for the Tribe and disseminate information that can help tribal members make informed choices for risk mitigation.
  • Prepare publications.

Journal Articles on this Report : 1 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other project views: All 54 publications 7 publications in selected types All 7 journal articles
Type Citation Project Document Sources
Journal Article Cummins C, Doyle J, Kindness L, Lefthand MJ, Bear Don’t Walk UJ, Bends A, Broadaway SC, Camper AK, Fitch R, Ford TE, Hamner S, Morrison AR, Richards CL, Young SL, Eggers MJ. Community-based participatory research in Indian country: improving health through water quality research and awareness. Family & Community Health 2010;33(3):166-174. R833706 (2009)
R833706 (2010)
R833706 (Final)
  • Full-text from PubMed
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Associated PubMed link
  • Abstract: Family & Community Health-Abstract
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    CBPR, well-water, exposure, risk, communication, cultural

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2009 Progress Report
  • 2011 Progress Report
  • 2012 Progress Report
  • Final Report