Navajo Nation president eyes lifting advisory on river water

Navajo Nation president eyes lifting advisory on river water


Clay Griffith

Rapid News
August 22, 2015


The EPA sent several water tanks to Shiprock, N.M., after contaminating the San Juan River with 3 million gallons of mine waste two weeks ago.


In an August. 17 Denver Post article featuring comments from Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye, the situation was described as “bone dry”, with “much of the tribal yield either dying or dead”.


“That is clearly oil”, Branch said.


“We don’t trust the EPA”, he said, noting that the supposedly tainted water had been given to some livestock and used by some farmers to water their crops.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Begaye spoke Wednesday about water quality in the river and agreed to have EPA cease water deliveries Friday for agricultural use on the reservation, the EPA and Manus said.


Also, the owner of the Gold King Mine where the toxic spill originated says he tried to keep the EPA out, but was threatened with law suits if he didnt allow them access.

Sitting on a table were five plastic containers holding water samples – varying in color from yellow to brown – that Ben said were collected from the tanks.


Water quality has now returned to levels measured before the release entered the Navajo Nation.


A news release sent by the EPA Wednesday stated President Begaye had indicated the Navajo Nation would soon reopen the San Juan River. KOAT wants to know how the EPA picked the trucking company and if the agency holds itself accountable for the workers they hire to deliver EPA water. Among the unanswered questions is why it took the EPA almost a day to inform local officials in downstream communities that rely on the rivers for drinking water. They tend to try and always sweep it under the rug and expect Native People to accept it and “Get over it” like America says.


“Triple S Trucking has received assurances that each of the tanks that were used were steam cleaned and inspected prior to use at Shiprock”, the company stated.

Today, EPA has released additional water quality data from Aug. 7 to Aug. 9, 2015, on the San Juan River between Farmington and Shiprock, New Mexico.


The agency said it would work with the Navajo Nation on a monitoring plan for the river. Crotty said farmers already are having trouble selling crops from the area. “And never any information about the long-term and short-term effects of these toxins in our water”.


“Every new development of the EPA spill story is worse than the last”, said Jonathan Lockwood, head of the free-market group Advancing Colorado.