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Update on Tribal Consultation for the Sanitation Deficiency System Guide

by Rear Adm. Mark Calkins, P.E., Director of the Division of Sanitation Facilities Construction, Indian Health Service

The Indian Health Service is currently engaging in tribal consultation on proposed updates to the Sanitation Deficiency System (SDS) – A Guide for Reporting Sanitation Deficiencies for American Indian and Alaska Native Homes and Communities (commonly known as the SDS Guide).  A letter with the proposed SDS Guide [PDF - 187 KB] was sent to tribal leaders on July 2, 2018.  Through a separate letter sent on August 1, 2018, the deadline for written comments was extended to September 14, 2018.

The SDS Guide is used by the IHS Sanitation Facilities Construction Program to standardize the program’s collection of data and reporting on the current sanitation deficiencies affecting American Indian and Alaska Native homes and communities. Families with satisfactory environmental conditions in their homes, which include safe water and sewerage systems, require fewer medical services. The Indian Sanitation Facilities Act authorizes the IHS to provide essential sanitation facilities, such as safe drinking water and sewerage systems, to Indian homes and communities. The IHS SFC Program provides technical and financial assistance to American Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages for cooperative development and construction of safe water, wastewater, and solid waste systems and related support facilities.

The proposed updates to the SDS Guide include reorganization of the various chapters.  The IHS Office of Environmental Health and Engineering has prepared a Table of Contents Comparison Document [PDF - 167 KB] to highlight differences between the draft SDS Guide and the current version that was issued in May 2003.  The Comparison Document can be used to locate where subject matter from the May 2003 version can be found in the proposed version. IHS is seeking comments and recommendations on the proposed updates. Provide your feedback:

Subject Line: SDS Guide Tribal Consultation

  • By postal mail to:

RADM Michael D. Weahkee
Acting Director
Indian Health Service
5600 Fishers Lane, Mail Stop: 08E86
Rockville, MD 20857

ATTN: SDS Guide Tribal Consultation

Your feedback is important to us. We will carefully review all comments on the draft SDS Guide. The IHS Division of Sanitation Facilities Construction will then formulate recommendations for IHS leadership to review and consider.

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Sanitation Deficiency System, Final Draft for Tribal Consultation [PDF - 187 KB]

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Rear Adm. Mark Calkins, P.E., Director of the Division of Sanitation Facilities Construction, Indian Health Service
Rear Adm. Mark Calkins leads the IHS Office of Environmental Health and Engineering Division of Sanitation and Facilities Construction program, the largest engineering program in the Public Health Service, with a staff of over 500 engineers and support personnel. Through his leadership, the program has provided water supply and waste disposal facilities to over 17,000 homes annually throughout Indian Country.