EPA Fines BIA For Drinking Water Violations

September 24, 2013

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Bureau of Indian Affairs have settled a civil action over violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act. The settlement includes a major fine for the BIA.

The EPA’s Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld says access to clean, potable drinking water remains a critical issue for many tribal communities.  His agency has levied civil penalties of $136,000 on the BIA for violations involving the Keams Canyon, Ariz. water supply.

The system, on the Hopi Reservation in Navajo County, is owned and operated by the BIA, and serves about 2,000 people. EPA found the BIA exceeded drinking water standards for arsenic, and failed to monitor for arsenic and disinfection compounds at Keams Canyon.

The system is now in full compliance with those requirements.

Tuesday’s action follows a 2011 order from the EPA, which forced the Bureau of Indian Affairs to spend nearly $1 million to install and operate an arsenic treatment system there.

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