Department of Defense Awards $200,000 to SBC

Feb 15th, 2009 | By | Category: 20-3: Tribal Athletes Fight for Their Place, Tribal College News

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY CENTER UPGRADE: Inside the center at Sitting Bull College, new laboratory equipment will enhance science studies. Photo by Ron Walters

As Sitting Bull College (SBC, Fort Yates, ND) continues to expand its Bachelor of Science degree programs, the U.S. Department of Defense awarded an equipment grant in the amount of $200,627, earmarked for purchase of new laboratory equipment. Dr. Gary Halvorson, the director of the SBC Analytical Laboratory, says, “This funding will not only help enhance our current bachelor of science degrees, but it will also allow us to advance our capability in analyzing water, soil, plant and animal tissue.”

Currently, SBC offers Bachelor of Science Degrees in Environmental Science and Secondary Science Education. The SBC laboratory houses a variety of professional grade equipment. “The new equipment will help SBC in seeking accreditation from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) for analyzing water samples under the Safe Drinking Water Act.”

Once accredited, the new sampling service will provide new jobs to SBC environmental science graduates. It will also provide a service to local tribal agencies, which will not have to send samples off the reservation. “This new equipment will allow us to analyze elemental parameters down to the lowest parts per billion and in some cases into the parts per trillion,” Halvorson says. “We need this capability to effectively analyze low levels of some metal atoms found in local water samples.”

The grant will also allow Sitting Bull College to do more extensive investigations into mercury concentrations. “There have been several documented concerns about mercury levels in the environment on the Standing Rock Reservation,” Halvorson says.

The new auto analyzer has the capability of automating many analyses currently being done separately by old-fashioned, wet chemistry methods. “This should greatly improve our efficiency and accuracy in analyzing parameters, such as nitrate, nitrite, phosphorus, and chloride,” Halvorson says.

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