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Failing septic systems on Navajo Nation an increasing concern

Indian Health Service workers install a septic system.
Indian Health Service
Indian Health Service workers install a septic system.

Navajo Nation leaders say failing septic and solid waste systems are becoming an increasing concern in many areas of the reservation.

One tribal lawmaker has gathered nearly 170 accounts from residents of Blue Gap, Many Farms and other chapters about deficient sanitation facilities in homes.

Officials say it’s a serious environmental contamination issue that threatens land and water and creates significant health risks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

They’ve requested the federal Indian Health Service to work to replace the systems for hundreds of Navajo families that rely on local sanitation services.

According to an annual report by the tribe, more than 15,000 homes on the Navajo Nation need sanitation facility improvements.

Navajo Nation Council delegates have requested field visits and assessments from the tribe’s Environmental Protection Agency.