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Navajo Nation Benefits from Recovery Act Funds to Improve Water Services

Release Date: 07/08/2009
Contact Information: Margot Perez-Sullivan, 415.947.4149 Perezsullivan.margot@epa.gov

The Navajo Nation will have improved access to vital water services through funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Indian Health Service (IHS) today announced $90 million nationwide in ‘shovel ready’ infrastructure projects designed to better protect human and environmental health in Indian Country.

“Together with the Indian Health Service, EPA is using Recovery Act funds to provide much-needed support for water and wastewater systems on the Navajo Nation. Over 30 percent of Navajo Nation residents lack access to safe, piped drinking water, compared to less than one percent of non-native homes nationwide,” said Laura Yoshii, acting regional administrator for the U.S. EPA in the Pacific Southwest. “This funding creates jobs for tribal members, addresses critical infrastructure needs and will increase access to drinking water and basic sanitation services -- essential to protecting public health on the Navajo Nation.”

The 30 wastewater projects benefiting the Navajo Nation range from septic tank and drainfield upgrades and renovations to restoration and repairs at several wastewater treatment facilities located within the nation to serve 4,577 homes. Funds will also be used to launch the first phase of a drinking water line extension project. Over 20 percent of the Navajo ARRA will fund “green” decentralized wastewater systems.

Continuing a tradition spanning 20 years, EPA and IHS’s combined effort to improve water services in Indian Country contributed to their identification of 95 wastewater and 64 drinking water priority projects to be completed by IHS’s Sanitation Facilities Construction Program through EPA Recovery Act funds. The projects exceed the Recovery Act requirement that 20 percent of the funds be used for green infrastructure, water and energy efficiency improvements and other environmentally innovative projects.

President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on February 17, 2009, and has directed that the recovery act be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability. To that end, the American people can see how every dollar is being invested at recovery.gov.

More information about all the EPA Recovery Act water efforts: http://www.epa.gov/water/eparecovery/