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Inspectors: Navajo Wastewater Treatment Plants Violate Environmental Regulations

Federal and tribal inspectors found six Navajo wastewater treatment plants in violation of environmental regulations. 

The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority violated the federal and Navajo Clean Water Act by allowing the treatment plants to discharge above the allowed limits into the Little Colorado and San Juan Rivers, according to the EPA. 

That’s the same water system the Navajo Nation just sued the EPA over. An EPA crew trying to clean up an old Colorado mine released 3 million gallons of toxic sludge into the southwest river system last year.

The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority has agreed to spend $6 million to fix the wastewater facilities and bring them into compliance, the EPA said. The six plants treat sewage from more than 27,000 people who live throughout the Navajo Nation. 

Laurel Morales was a Fronteras Desk reporter in Flagstaff from 2011 to 2020.