Residents of the Navajo Nation in Shiprock, New Mexico already have it pretty tough. They are now facing water shortages for livestock and crops.

It was earlier this month when the EPA, working at the abandoned Gold King Mine in Silverton, Colorado, inadvertently released 3 million gallons of toxic waste into Cement Creek. A backhoe was the culprit and sent the sludge into the creek which leads to the Animas river and into the San Juan which flow through the Navajo Nation in New Mexico.

The Navajo Nation relies 100% on the river to water it's crops, livestock and citizens and are now facing a natural disaster of their own.

The EPA sent in a bunch of large tanks this week to hold non-potable water to be used to water their livestock and crops but Navajo officials are livid and more upset to find that the tanks were used in the oil field industry and the water stored in them can't be used.

We as a people (Navajo) (Southern Ute) were told & promised by EPA that WE, along the Animas & San Juan River would have clean drinkable water as well as water for our farm crops and animals but the tanks you see are being used to store water which were used in the Oil & Gas industry to store water with chemicals and other liquids made on locations. The Navajo Nation & Indian Country as a whole is a 3rd World Country in a so called “Land Of Opportunity” but American Government tends to be ashamed and fail to take responsibility/accountability for events like this. They tend to try and always sweep it under the rug and expect Native People to accept it and “Get over it” like America says - Navajo commentator, Marty Shade

Navajo President Russell Begaye has demanded answers from the EPA but is being ignored. Testing on the water blatantly shows oil residue in the water and who knows what other chemicals are lurking in those tanks so I can hardly blame them for issuing warnings of their own to members of the Navajo Nation to NOT USE the water for the livestock or crops.

The EPA has said that the spill is all but over, but is it? As Begaye pointed out on a recent trip to Silverton, although the water is much clearer, the toxic sludge is still in the sediment and soils of the banks of the Cement creek and Animas river. When pouring water over the soil, the obvious yellow sludge rises to the top and runs into the water. What this means is that when it rains, all the sludge held within will be released into the water for who knows how long.

This problem is far from over and I feel for the Navajo Nation!

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