The Lac du Flambeau Chippewa have received federal authority to set water quality standards on the reservation. The Clean Water Act allows tribes to run their own water programs in a manner similar to states. Dan Cozza of the Environmental Protection Agency says it's an important step for tribes. "Previously, there's been no water quality standards for reservations," said Cozza. "Lac du Flambeau is the 41st tribal nation to gain this authority."
Cozza says authority to run a water program is just one step: the approval of the tribe's water quaility standards is a seperate process which will require a period of public comment, and review by the state. In Wisconsin, the Lac du Flambeau band is the second tribe authorized to run their own water program. The Mole Lake band of Sokaogon Chippewa previously received the designation.