CONTACT: Steve Tripp






PRESCOTT, Ariz. (January 11, 2002) Working with the assistance of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Yavapai Prescott Indian Tribe has nearly completed its efforts to restore the site of a former wood treatment facility on the reservation.

As part of their ongoing commitment to promoting public health and safety through the tribal Environmental Program, the tribe has been working since 1994 to return the land to its original uncontaminated state. Such efforts can be a daunting task, but the tribe has nearly completed the remediation process. Its proactive activities have already resulted in a cleaner environment, which will undoubtedly benefit present and future generations.

"Cleaning this area will improve the community," says Calvin Hunter, Jr., board member of the tribe and a member of the tribeís environmental awareness committee. "Because of the chemicals left behind, the site was unable to be used. Now that the contaminants will be removed, the land can be reused and we have shown the community and earth the respect they deserve."

The wood treatment facility, in operation from 1961 to 1985, left the site laden with hazardous compounds. Since that time, the tribe has been left with the monumental responsibility of restoring the land to native conditions. In 1992, the EPA declared the site a federal Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act, or CERCLA, site after tests revealed that several chemicals were at levels in excess of federal standards.

The contamination has been addressed by the use of native microorganisms that consume the targeted contaminants and break down the chemicals--in essence, "cleaning" the soil. Contaminated soil is first excavated and sifted for rocks, then mixed with sawdust before being transferred to treatment cells where the actual bioremediation takes place. To do this most effectively, on-site engineers attempt to keep the soil being treated at a constant temperature and moisture content in order to support the microorganisms in their optimal condition.

Located adjacent to the central Arizona community of Prescott, approximately one hour north of Phoenix, the Yavapai Prescott Indian Tribe consists of 159 members and occupies a reservation of less than 1,500 acres. Tribal enterprises, including a business park, shopping center and two casinos, provide more than 2,500 jobs for the local economy.