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News Releases from Region 09

EPA announces $13 Million for Environmental Improvements on Tribal Lands in Arizona

Contact Information: 
Margot Perez-Sullivan (perezsullivan.margot@epa.gov)

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $13 million in funding for Arizona tribes to support environmental programs, drinking water and wastewater infrastructure and community education. The announcement was made at the 24th Annual Regional Tribal Conference in San Francisco.

“Tribes continue to make great strides in environmental protection and improving public health,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest.  “This year, EPA is supporting water quality projects and water infrastructure for Arizona tribes with over $8 million in funding.”

Approximately $3.7 million was awarded directly to Arizona tribes to support a wide variety of projects including monitoring, watershed protection and restoration, water and energy efficiency, wastewater reclamation, and treatment systems. Another $4.5 million will go to the Indian Health Service to support tribal drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, plant operator training and technical assistance.

Arizona tribes will use an additional $4.7 million to continue tribal environmental programs, clean up open dumps and contaminated lands, develop programs to monitor, protect, and improve air quality, and conduct targeted community outreach and community education.

Among the results of EPA funding:

  • Nearly $1.5 million will fund the connection of two existing community drinking water systems, upgrade arsenic treatment. Treated drinking water from this project will serve 73 tribal homes on the Tohono O’odham Nation Reservation.
  • The Havasupai Tribe, located at the basin on the Grand Canyon, received $100,000 for a commercial compactor and shredder to reduce costs for handling waste and recycled materials. This equipment has allowed for greater volumes of recycled materials, such as plastic bottles and cardboard, to be placed in the paniers since shredded materials pack much more efficiently.  This significantly reduced helicopter time that is necessary for hauling waste.  The Havasupai Environmental Protection Department estimates this saves $158,571 annually.

These funds are critical in building the capacity of tribes to carry out environmental work. As most tribes in the Pacific Southwest have small governments, one goal of the funding is to assist tribes in developing the ability to establish and sustain environmental protection programs and make informed decisions to protect public health and environmental quality. The funds are also used to develop environmental and public health ordinances.

The EPA's Pacific Southwest Region is home to 148 tribal nations.  

For more information please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region9/tribal