Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan

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Bill Snowden, an environmental technician and former tribal councilman, said 55 gallons of antifreeze, or ethylene glycol, is probably seeping into the ground water each week. "We know glycol is going into the ground somewhere," Snowden said at an April 7 media conference. Tribal Council members maintain drinking water is safe. "There is absolutely nothing wrong with our water,? Council spokesman Frank Cloutier said. Maintenance workers accidentally dumped 42 gallons of toxic chemicals into the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort's sewer system in 1998 which affected the bacterial ecosystem at the wastewater treatment plant, he said. The antifreeze, which heats resort sidewalks, was replaced with an earth-friendly chemical called propylene glycol. An independent consultant, hired by the council to test the drinking water in February, detected no ethylene glycol in any of the lagoons surrounding the resort. About five dozen fish have died in the ponds near the casino, Snowden said, adding he developed skin lesions after taking water samples from the pond this winter. Tribal officials said it is not unusual for fish to die off when the water freezes, and also said they have heard no confirmed reports of illness related to the water quality. Central Michigan Health Department has received no complaints about the water in wells near the reservation.