Submitted by Matthew Langenfeld, US EPA, Region 8, Pollution Prevention and Toxics Program, firstname.lastname@example.orgOur schools are a safer place today due to the efforts of a dedicated team of professionals. This team has worked collaboratively to clean out 1,515 pounds of hazardous and toxic chemicals, and explosives from 5 tribal schools at the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota.
These schools have a total student population of 668 that includes 561 Native Americans. This is the first ever successful partnership through the EPA national partnership alert with the SC3 Charter Partner Program. Read about US EPA Schools Chemical Cleanout Campaign (SC3) partnerships at http://www.epa.gov/osw/partnerships/sc3/partners.htm
Pollution Control Industries (PCI) in Indiana answered the call and provided an estimated $26,000.00 in services to remove and properly dispose of chemicals from the schools.
Together this team has accomplished tasks that would have been impossible for an individual to accomplish. This work has been ongoing for over 2 years.
The collective sense of responsibility, inspirational leadership, and exemplary persistence and courage has protected hundreds of Native American school children from laboratory chemical and other dangerous chemical school hazards and unhealthy school conditions.
The risk of exposure to toxic chemicals for numerous children has been reduced or eliminated by these significant and heroic efforts. This team has used a very practical process and cost saving measures to reduce risk to chemical exposure. The team has worked tirelessly to improve chemical safety school conditions for Native American school children.
I nominate the following individuals for the Healthy Kids Healthy Schools Hero Award.
David Nelson, Director, Environmental Protection Department, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, PO Box 590, Eagle Butte, SD, 57625
David Nelson has been very dedicated to improving the safety of tribal schools at the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. He made EPA aware of the need for removal and proper disposal of hazardous and toxic chemicals, and potentially explosive chemicals from tribal schools at the reservation. He reported leaking containers, deteriorating storage shelves, unsafe storage conditions, and unwanted, unneeded, and outdated chemicals. He supported the use of his staff for coordination of activities with schools. David made school chemical cleanout activities at Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation schools a priority. He sent a letter to all schools seeking collaboration and assistance. As a result of his initiating efforts, over 200 individual chemicals have been removed and properly disposed from five schools at Cheyenne River as follows.
Robert Smith, Coordinator, Tribal Brownfields Program, Environmental Protection Department, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, PO Box 590, Eagle Butte, SD, 57625
Robert Smith has consistently provided assistance and gone above expectation to remove toxic and hazardous chemicals from tribal schools at Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. Robert has fostered critical relationships with school personnel. He gained the support, cooperation, and participation of school administration and staff allowing easy access and a positive working environment. He was instrumental in conducting inventories of chemicals, obtaining cost estimates for disposal, working with contractors to safely lap-pack chemicals, and collect chemicals for shipment and proper disposal. Removing chemicals from these schools prevent eventual release to air, water, and soil. All chemicals collected were listed on a hazardous waste manifest and transported for appropriate disposal at a Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facility (TSDF) according to land ban restrictions. This is the first ever successful partnership through the national partnership alert with the SC3 Charter Partner Program. These Indian Country schools include Cheyenne Eagle Butte High School, Dupree High School, Takini School, Timber Lake High School, and Tiospaye Topa School. These schools have a total student population of 668 that includes 561 Native Americans. A total of 1,515 pounds of chemicals were removed to include neurotoxins, carcinogens, suspected carcinogens, strong oxidizers, and corrosive, caustic, toxic, ignitable, flammable, shock sensitive and potentially explosive chemicals and were properly disposed. The estimated cost of transportation and disposal services provided by PCI is $26,000.00.
Elizabeth Bird & Myla Kelly, Coordinators, Peaks to Prairies Pollution Prevention Information Center, Montana State University, Taylor Hall, Bozeman, MT, 59717
Elizabeth Bird and Myla Kelly have worked tirelessly and dedicated many hours to school chemical cleanout activities at Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. They supported the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Environmental Protection Department with chemical inventory and collection activities. Peaks to Praires received grant funding for school chemical cleanout activities at tribal schools in South Dakota. Based on David Nelson’s requests for assistance and demonstration of need, it was decided that this work would be conducted at Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation schools. Elizabeth and Myla kept focus on chemical inventory, cost estimates, and collection. They worked on locating funding sources and obtaining funds for chemical cleanout. Additional workshops, teacher education, and staff training activities are planned.Kristina Meson, School Chemical Cleanout Campaign, EPA/Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW (5302P), Washington, DC 20460
Kristina Meson always goes above and beyond expectation to remove toxic and hazardous chemicals from schools nationwide and has assisted Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation with activities in Indian Country. Kristina is very successful with school chemical cleanout activities. Over the past 2 years, she has worked overtime without compensation to further the school chemical cleanout program at Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. Upon notification of a need for cleanout of chemicals from these tribal schools, Kristina requested assistance from the School Chemical Cleanout Campaign Charter Partner Program and Partner Alert request for assistance from ORCR. Pollution Control Industries of East Chicago, Indiana answered the request and offered to provide free services for the schools to collect and properly dispose of toxic and hazardous chemicals. All chemicals collected were listed on a hazardous waste manifest and transported for appropriate disposal at a Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facility (TSDF) according to land ban restrictions.Tita LaGrimas, Executive Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, Pollution Control Industries, 4343 Kennedy Avenue, East Chicago, IN 46312
Tita LaGrimas answered Kristina’s School Chemical Cleanout Campaign Charter Partner Program and Partner Alert request for assistance. She obtained approval from Pollution Control Industries (PCI) to travel to South Dakota, collect the chemicals, ship them to PCI Treatment Storage and Disposal Facility in Indiana for proper disposal. She demonstrated dedication to this project and took a personal interest in protecting the students and staff at Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. Based on her involvement, the project was completed in a short period of time and went very smoothly. Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation Schools will forever be safer for school children based on Tita’s work.
Background Information for Cheyenne River Sioux, South Dakota
Tribal School Cleanout Updated 02/09/09, 11/12/08 (1,515 lbs)
Estimated Cost $26,000.00 (Partnership with Pollution Control Industries - Pro Bono)
Eagle Butte High School, 24 Students, 38% Native American
Dupree High School, 62 Students, 63% Native American
Timber Lake, 110 Students, 39% Native American
Tiospaye Topa, 221 Students, 100% Native American
Takini, 232 Students, 100% Native American