Wednesday, April 8, 2020

EPA orders San Carlos Apache Tribe to comply with drinking water rules

The Environmental Protection Agency recently issued an administrative order to the San Carlos Apache Tribe and the San Carlos Apache Tribal Utility Authority to bring nine drinking water systems in Arizona into compliance with federal regulations.

“Our goal is to protect the health of tribal members and ensure their drinking water is safe.” Alexis Strauss, EPA's acting regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest, said. “Public drinking water systems must sample water, report the results and address compliance issues in a timely manner.”

In 2011, the EPA and the tribe agreed to a settlement wherein the tribe was required to bring its drinking water systems into compliance. The EPA recently found that the tribe and the tribal utility authority had not adhered to the terms of the settlement in that they did not provide drinking water in compliance with federal maximum levels for arsenic and total coliform, did not adequately monitor the drinking water supplied and did not provide notice to customers.

Per the new administrative order, the tribe will provide alternate drinking water to customers using two of the nine systems, which are currently delivering water with levels of arsenic above the maximum contaminant level, by Dec. 23. The tribe and tribal authority are will also bring all systems into compliance by Sept. 30, 2018.

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Environmental Protection Agency Region 9

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