Navajo Nation Investigates EPA Water Tanks

It’s been almost two weeks since the Gold King Mine spill caused the shut down of San Juan River irrigation to farms on the Navajo Nation.


The Environmental Protection Agency says it is working with Navajo Nation authorities to investigate complaints about water contamination in tanks provided by the EPA for agricultural needs in the Shiprock area.

Tribal spokesman Mihio Manus said Thursday that President Russell Begaye is considering lifting the tribe’s advisory against using river water for irrigation on Saturday.

A news release sent by the EPA Wednesday stated President Begaye had indicated the Navajo Nation would soon reopen the San Juan River.

Not all the water has been welcomed.

Begaye and Navajo Attorney General Ethel Branch went to Shiprock to look at the tanks a day after farmers voted to reject the water.

“This is what they expect our animals to drink?” They set up tanks and filled them so that farmers could haul the water themselves.

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 EPA said in a statement the agency contracted with the city of Bloomfield’s utility company.

During that call, according to the release, it was agreed EPA water deliveries to the tribe for agriculture use would end Friday. The EPA said it will provide technical assistance.


“It does make a problem, because numerous farmers would not have the capability to deliver the amount of water that their crops need”, Yazzie said. 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”.

Joe Ben Jr. Shiprock Chapter House Farm Board representative touches the water from a tank in Shiprock N.M. The quality of San Juan River water on the Navajo Nation has returned to what it was before a spill at a Colorado