Quantification of elemental contaminants in unregulated water across western Navajo nation

Jonathan Credo, Jaclyn Torkelson, Tommy Rock, Jani C. Ingram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The geologic profile of the western United States lends itself to naturally elevated levels of arsenic and uranium in groundwater and can be exacerbated by mining enterprises. The Navajo Nation, located in the American Southwest, is the largest contiguous Native American Nation and has over a 100-year legacy of hard rock mining. This study has two objectives, quantify the arsenic and uranium concentrations in water systems in the Arizona and Utah side of the Navajo Nation compared to the New Mexico side and to determine if there are other elements of concern. Between 2014 and 2017, 294 water samples were collected across the Arizona and Utah side of the Navajo Nation and analyzed for 21 elements. Of these, 14 elements had at least one instance of a concentration greater than a national regulatory limit, and six of these (V, Ca, As, Mn, Li, and U) had the highest incidence of exceedances and were of concern to various communities on the Navajo Nation. Our findings are similar to other studies conducted in Arizona and on the Navajo Nation and demonstrate that other elements may be a concern for public health beyond arsenic and uranium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2727
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume16
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019

Keywords

  • Arsenic
  • Manganese
  • Navajo
  • Unregulated water
  • Uranium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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