Navajo Tribal Utility Authority agrees to halt water pollution

July 9, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO — EPA discovered NTUA had violated permit limits since 2011 as it discharged pollutants into Black Creek.

SAN FRANCISCO — The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA) will bring its Window Rock wastewater treatment facility into compliance after settlements between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Navajo Nation EPA (NNEPA), according to a press release.

The facility will meet federal Clean Water Act and the Navajo Nation Clean Water Act standards, noted the release. NNEPA recently required NTUA to pay a $25,000 penalty, “the first time a tribally-owned entity has paid a penalty for violations of the Navajo Clean Water Act.”

To avoid further fines, NTUA must bring the facility into full compliance by Dec. 31, stated the release. NTUA will also construct new treatment plant infrastructure on the site.

“For over 35 years we have partnered with the Navajo Nation to protect public health and the environment,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA applauds the Navajo Nation EPA for its leadership in setting this precedent that protects the Nation’s precious water resources.”

EPA discovered NTUA had violated permit limits because, since 2011, it discharged pollutants into Black Creek, a tributary of the Puerco River, which feeds into the Little Colorado River, reported the release. The authority also failed to submit proper and timely reports regarding its treatment system. The plant operates within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation in Apache County, Arizona, where it serves about 13,300 people.

As part of the agreement, NTUA will “conduct sampling, submit quarterly reports, train and certify the plant’s operators, and hold regular compliance meetings with senior officials of EPA and NNEPA,” shared the release.

Click here to read the entire release.

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