April 12, 2011
Number 116 Volume 124

Courtesy photo

Frank Laughter of the Navajo Nation Department of Water Resources' Leupp Field Office fills a water tank for Olsen Black of Grand Falls.

Nation delivers

to Box Springs
By Kathy Helms
Dine Bureau

BLACK FALLS, Ariz ..-;-Battling winds gusting at more than 40 mph and teeth-rattling washboard roads, the first 4,000":gallon tanker of safe drinking water from the Navajo Nation arrived Friday morning in Box Springs, located a few miles out a well-worn dirt road near Black Falls.' It was a major milestone, after more than two years of effort by the grassroots. group the Forgotten People, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Navajo Nation EPA and former employee Deb Misra, Department of Water Resources, Emergency Management, two presidential administrations, Navajo Nation Council delegates and a host of others. But the superstar Friday was Najam Tariq ofNavajo Division of Water Resources, who put together a proposal in February 2009 that led to U.S. EPA awarding $2.64 million for the three-year Safe Drinking Water Haul-

See Water. Page 5

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Continued from Page 1
ing Feasibility Study and Pilot Project. The funds: allowed the Nation to purchase five 4,000 gallon water-hauling tankers and an equipment service truck to transport safe drinking water to' residents, in Black Falls, Box Springs and Grand Falls who haye been". drinking 'uranium-. and' , . arsenic-containinated water, as well as other portions of the reservation where similar conditions exist. '~I did make a promise that the first load of water would be delivered to the people' over here," Tariq he was welcorned into the, home of cancer victim Rolanda Tohannie, who is recovering from her 10th surgery; this time for tumors in her throat. When water 'delivery didn't come fast enough, Forgotten People showed up on the doorstep of newly installed Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly, demanding action. Shelly asked them to give him two months to see what he could do. ','Ever since the last meeting that was held in Window Rock with President Shelly, ..I have been, getting calls," Tariq said. "I think he put two people on me to call me every week. ... They got my home number, they got my office number, they got my cell phone number and they just called me. 'Where do you stand? President Shelly said

60 days.' I said tell Mr. Shelly Falls area," Tariq said. But peo'Marsha Monestersky, prowater and sanitation, and will, we are working very hard. We pie still need livestock water, so' 'gram manager for Forgotten' benefit water haulers through- : will get there within 60 days "they started two waterline 'People, said trying to solve out the Navajo Nation," she" and,I think 'we got there," Tariq extension projects and have access to safe drinking water said. said. completed two storage tanks. problems on the Navajo Nation, Eleanor Peshlakai of Black ~ , A Declaration of Public One is located neat Box Springs' "is like trying to run in quickFalls is very much in support of', , Health Emergency was declared and another near Grand Falls. sand." One thing Forgotten. drilling wells, she said, because" on Jan. 15, 2010, due to the "am intentions are we want People wants to do is form a it is more reliable than water: number' of cancer cases in the have the .water in the 24,000water and energy co-op. hauling, especially when it, area and the fact that residents gallon storage tanks within the "I believe the collaboration comes to weather' conditions. , such as -Tohannie were drinking next two months. That' is the of Forgotten People, Black "We get sudden rains, and that contaminated water from live- livestock water," he said. Falls/Box Springs/Grand Falls is going to be very tough on stock watering points without, Navajo Nation Council Del- residents with the U.S. EPA pursuing the method of hauling knowing the water was unsafe egate Walter Phelps, who repreSuperfund and Navajo Departwater and relying only on that." to drink.' sents the area, said, "You don't" merit of Water Resources will Elsie Tohannie of Black "I'm very happy that I know how excited and how 'create a prototype of a safe Falls said her family-has-te-haul received the water that Tariq happy I am for you. Be grateful. ·ffiinking water delivery system water from the west side of' promised and happy that God Be thankful. This is not somethat begins to fulfill the intent of .Leupp, The road is terrible and, approved it," Tohannie said. thing that's coming out of our a January 2010 Navajo Nationvthe trailer they .use t*es a beat+ "As for the roads, it would be pockets. This is special funds Declaration of'.Public Health ing, she .said. "I'm looking for- r-. ' great if the roads were fIXedfor from EPA. It's not coming from Emergency, supports people's .ward to this .change Of the hauling of, the water, Indian Health Service. They human rights' to safe drinking lifestyle." , because water is -life." have claimed infeasible $52 But the water hauling project million worth of projects for the is just a temporary .fix, accordfive chapters that I'm oversee- I ing to Tariq. Water Resources ing right now." .has submitted a proposal to U.S. ,Isabelle Walker from EPA through Indian Health Shelly's office reminded everyUPS 016·605 ISSN 1099·6052 Services to drill two exploratory one that they' are not the only' John K. Zollinger Robert C. Zollinger Barry Heifner wells. EPA _has approved ones who are suffering. "There Chairman Publisher Managing Editor 1964-2007 $450,000 for drilling the first are other people in dire need of well, which is expected to be . assistance. They don't have completed this year. If the water electricity, they don't have runquality from that well is. good ning water to their home a disfor human consumptiori, the tmice from here. They're also in ,agency will consider funding need of help. This issue of $500,000 for' a second addressing the water needs of exploratory well. the people has gone through The Independent - Gallup, N.M. - Tuesday, April 12, 2011 i "Once this project becomes many administrations, election ....... i feasible. it will provide water to . after .election," she" said. She 155 homes north-northwest of encouraged them to keep pushLeupp. That includes Box ing forward ill-trying to get-th, Springs, Black Falls and Grand services to the people.




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