The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered the Hopi Cultural Center to reduce the arsenic in its drinking water.
Arsenic is a naturally occurring carcinogen widespread in the West. Levels in the drinking water at the Hopi Cultural Center average 12 parts per billion, slightly above the EPA’s standard of 10 ppb.
Alexis Strauss is EPA’s acting administrator for the region. “The agreement requires them to come up with ways to treat the water that they’re serving, and to come back to us with a plan,” she says. “So I think we have some really good early steps to ensure they stay on track.”
The Hopi Cultural Center is located east of Tuba City and includes a restaurant and hotel. Its water system serves about two dozen employees as well as visitors. The Hopi Tribe has six months to install treatment technology. Bottled water will be given to guests in the meantime.
Strauss says this order is part of a multiyear arsenic management plan that seeks to improve drinking water for the Hopi Nation.