Report says Arizona has ninth-most drinking water health violations in nation
PHOENIX — Arizona had the ninth-highest number of drinking water health violations in the nation, a report released this week said.
The National Resources Defense Council — which sued the federal government over water conditions in Flint, Michigan — said at least 219,044 Arizonans receive their drinking water from a system that has committed at least one health violation.
A health violation occurs when something harmful is found in the water. In Arizona, that included arsenic, nitrates — typically found in fertilizer — and coliform, a class of bacteria that includes E. coli.
Uranium — an element used in nuclear weapons — has been found in water supplies near the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona.
The report also said 2.4 million Arizonans — about 36 percent of the state’s population — receive their drinking water from systems that have some type of Safe Drinking Water Act violation.
That number is higher than the national average.
“Nearly 77 million people were served by community water systems that violated at least one safe drinking water rule,” NRDC spokeswoman Mekela Panditharatne said.
“That’s one in every four Americans who were served by violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act.”
Panditharatne said her agency is concerned cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency proposed by President Donald Trump could cause that number to grow even more.
“Some of those funding cuts will go to cutting a staff who work on enforcement and drinking water protections, so keeping those staff (members) would be really important,” she said.
KTAR’s Ashley Flood contributed to this report.