Water and Wastewater Facilities

General Information

  1. The program is completely funded by the Indian Health Service with specific limitations on the use of funds. Current funding can only be used for water and wastewater facilities for "New or Improved" homes, not to replace or repair systems at existing homes. "New" include homes new to eligible applicant (and enrolled tribal member), within the last 12 months prior to application. "Improved" homes include those who have added a bedroom, bathroom, or kitchen within the last 12 months prior to application.
  2. Homes to be served must be a permanent, primary residence of the eligible applicant. Rental homes, seasonal homes, and businesses are not eligible. Mobile homes must be leveled, blocked, wheels removed, and skirted.
  3. Homes must be in sound structural condition, with fully functional plumbing (including fixtures), able to maintain 70 degrees in the winter and protect pipes from freezing, and meet reasonable standards for size, safety and health.
  4. Homes, sites/lots must be large enough for needed facilities (with extra room for expansion of septic systems in case of future failures). Lot drainage and sub-surface soils must provide adequate percolation for proper functioning of septic systems and protection of groundwater. Facility construction is not permitted in wetlands or known flood zones.
  5. Applicants must have the legal right to reside on the land. Copies of documents which verify this must be supplied with the application for facilities.
  6. Generally, applicants can only receive services once (example of exceptions would be divorce or children growing up and getting their own home).

Homeowners are expected to make necessary improvements to homes and lots to permit proper installation of facilities (e.g. clearing trees, junk cars, location of gravesites, underground utilities) or anything else that would inhibit access to perform the construction of facilities, including a suit­ able driveway.

*Mortgage program participants are required to follow the Waterline policy that states the contractor must bring the service line connection to our mainline where our crew will complete the tap.

Once completed, the facilities become the property of the homeowner.


As soon as plans are made for a "new or improved" home, an application for water and/or sewer facility assistance should be made. Typically, expect about a six month lead-time to receive services.
Applications are screened for eligibility and then prioritized according to the following criteria:

  • PRIORIOTY 1: Medical referrals - Health problem related to the absence or inadequacy of sanitary facilities. Must be reviewed by SNI Environmental Health Department.
  • PRIORIOTY 2: Families with newborn infants-(applicants expecting a baby should give their due date and keep the Water and Sewer Program updated of need/condition).
  • PRIORIOTY 3: Physically disabled
  • PRIORIOTY 4: Elderly/disabled
  • PRIORIOTY 5: General pool of applicants-generally done on a "first come, first serve" basis.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to notify the Tribal Utilities office of any changes effecting their application for facilities.

In addition to all of the above, please realize other factors effect the availability, holidays, the weather (to name a few).

Hopefully this information will help you better understand the Program and how it operates. We appreciate your patience as we try to serve our entire community by providing safe and sanitary water and wastewater facilities. Any inquiries may be directed to:

Theresa Lay
SNI Tribal Utilities Coordinator
219 Thomas Indian School Dr.
Irving, NY 14081

The Tribal Utilities office is located in the new Fleet Building located behind the TIS complex. Our phone number is 532-9221.

We'll also need a copy of your land deed, and your Tribal Enrollment card/certificate, for our IHS guidelines.

Interested Enrolled Applicants Fill Out The Application

Waterline - Activities & Initiatives

  • Operate and maintain approximately about 53 miles of mainline, master meter pits, booster pump stations, and water towers throughout the Cattaraugus Territory. This does not include all new installations that pop up throughout the years, as housing, capital improvements and community buildings are constantly expanding for our residents and community.
  • Any mainline disruptions and repairs needed were made- with possible projects to improve some piping issues at the Administration complex.
  • New water tower installation at Indian Hill, with repairs and upgrades coming for the Newtown Tank.
  • New SCADA system upcoming in FY 17 for Cattaraugus Territory’s telemetry system.
  • Upgraded pump houses and booster pump stations upcoming.
  • New and improved location of apparatus and GIS data input for historical record for all residents in process.
  • Training/schooling of a licensed Grade IIB Water Operator and a Water Operator Distribution (D) license. This license is procured through the NYS Department of Health Bureau of Water Supply Protection. This license is kept current through continued training which is required.
  • All crew is on call 24 hours a day-7 days a week.

Wastewater Systems - Activities & Initiatives

  • Operate and maintain the three plants located on the Cattaraugus Territory, the Irving Plant (newly constructed), Newtown Plant and the Thomas Indian School Plant. Monitor and test all sewage for Maximum Contaminant Levels for all plants while maintaining compliance for permit through NYS and EPA. This in turn is released safely back into the creek with no adverse effects to the environment. We are monitored closely by the SNI Environmental and Health Departments for any deficiencies or high residuals during testing.
  • Maintain all sanitary manholes and vacuum station pits, keeping all lines clear of debris to safely treat sewage.
  • Continue working with funding agencies (Indian Health Service and Environmental Protection Agency) and guidelines specific to serving our community with proper sanitary facilities. Input specific needs requests for funding through scattered sites proposals for new projects for both Cattaraugus and Allegany Territories.
  • Continue to competently install with quality construction, residential septic systems per all compliance specs within agency parameters.
  • Currently have NYSDEC licensed Wastewater Operator(s) for Grade IIA plants. We also keep all training and education units current to keep up their requirements through NYSDEC.
  • All crew is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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Phone: +1-716-532-9221

219 Thomas Indian School Drive
Irving, New York 14081