USDA Rural Development funds $5.7 million water upgrades for Earth Day project on Navajo Nation

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development officials joined Navajo Tribal Utility Authority representatives April 21 to announce $5,720,000 in loan and grant money to upgrade the water systems for Ganado, Lower Greasewood and Dilkon water systems. Submitted photo

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development officials joined Navajo Tribal Utility Authority representatives April 21 to announce $5,720,000 in loan and grant money to upgrade the water systems for Ganado, Lower Greasewood and Dilkon water systems. Submitted photo

LOWER GREASEWOOD, Ariz. -United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development officials joined Navajo Tribal Utility Authority representatives April 21 to announce $5,720,000 in loan and grant money to upgrade the water systems for Ganado, Lower Greasewood and Dilkon water systems.

The project was one of several announced for Earth Day across the nation.

The Arizona project upgrades a system that covers a huge swath of land on the Nation. The original systems were built during the 1970s and 1980s and were in need of repair. The facilities include storage tanks, water supply wells and booster pump stations.

Acting State Director for USDA Rural Development Ernie Wetherbee presented Thomas Bayles and David Shoultz of the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority a plaque to commemorate the funding at today's ceremony. The group also planted a tree to mark the event.

The Ganado system includes seven wells of which two are included in the project area. Both of these wells are inactive due to poor water quality.

The Lower Greasewood and Dilkon systems are interconnected and operate as a single system. The Greasewood system has four potable water storage tanks (only two of which are active) and three wells. None of the wells are functional because of water quality issues, including high arsenic concentrations.

"The funds will be used to drill a new well in Dilkon as well as to lay new pipe and replace the old pipes throughout the system," Wetherbee said. "This important project will make a significant difference in the health and well-being of the folks being served in these areas."

Money will also be used with the Environmental Protection Agency to build a water treatment facility in Lower Greasewood to improve water quality.

"Safe drinking water and sanitary waste disposal systems are vital not only to public health, but also to the economic vitality of small communities," said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. "Building and maintaining water infrastructure creates jobs, boosts the economy, and provides rural families with safe, reliable water and wastewater facilities that improve the environment."

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