Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Challenges. Discussion »
FORT DEFIANCE, ARIZONA Due to the recent Navajo Nation Emergency Declaration relating to frozen water pipes across the Navajo Nation, it has been strongly recommended by regional health representatives that people boil water before drinking.
Frozen water visible in a broken section of pipe.
The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority is following that recommendation and is sending word to customers to boil water before consuming as a precaution.
“We are issuing this alert as a precaution,”
said NTUA Deputy General Manager Rex Kontz.
"Some homes have been without water for an extended amount of time and once the water thaws out it pushes the frozen water through the system to the homes. We also understand that people may also be hauling water from outside sources."
"Therefore, we feel that it's our responsibility to inform people that it may be a good idea to boil water first before drinking,"
“We are following the health advisory and extending that precaution to our customers.”
Utility authority is suggesting that water customers continue to
drip water to keep water pipes from freezing
The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority and the Indian Health Service have been collecting water samples from the areas most affected by the water outage and are testing for any contamination. The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority Environmental Compliance and Laboratory has been testing the water systems and to date the tests have not confirmed any bacterial contamination. This is in addition to the regular testing that utility authority conducts for all of the water systems.
When boiling the water, health authorities recommend bringing the water to a boil for at least one minute. Be sure to let the water cool before using. They advise that boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation.
The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority will issue another public advisory when it is no longer necessary to boil water.
In the meantime, the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority continues to work on repairing broken water lines throughout the Navajo Nation. With the assistance of the Navajo Engineering and Construction Authority, more crews are being dispatched daily to restore water services as soon as possible.
Crews are responding to thousands of calls.
For the past few weeks, the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority has worked hard to address a massive number of water outages. Crews are responding to more than 2,000 water outage calls.
The recent formal Navajo Nation Declaration of Emergency has helped efforts to respond to outage calls by bringing in more outside crews to help reduce the number of calls.
“We are responding to all outage calls,”
"It will take some time to get to each one. The crews have to travel between the location and the repair is unknown until they arrive on site. We are doing our very best to reduce the waiting time."
In the meantime, as overnight temperatures remain just above freezing, utility authority is suggesting that water customers continue to drip water to keep water pipes from freezing. Other suggestions are: to insulate water pipes, to disconnect outdoor water hoses, and to skirt mobile homes. Also do not try to thaw out frozen pipes with an open flame because it might cause more damage.
For additional tips on dealing with frozen water pipes, go to the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority at www.ntua.com.
posted January 31, 2013 5:20 am est