By Riamy Beuscher, RCAC communications intern

Hopi Buttes - By John Fowler from Placitas, NM, USA Estimates that roughly three-quarters of residents living on Hopi land are drinking arsenic-tainted water create growing health concerns among the tribe.

The University of Arizona recently launched a study exploring the possible link between high cancer rates on the Hopi reservation and arsenic in drinking water. Arsenic found in drinking water on the reservation is nearing twice the limit, according to The Arizona Republic. In nearby Keams Canyon system, a lawsuit filed against the U.S. government reported arsenic levels more than four times the legal limit.

When running water was introduced to Hopi land in the 1980s residents immediately noticed their drinking water had an odd taste. In 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency set new standards that lowered the amount of arsenic allowed in drinking water. Since then, several systems on Hopi land have been out of compliance.

Two new, deeper water wells were drilled in 2013 in an attempt to remedy the situation. The hope is that by drilling deeper, the water pumped will be safer. However, according to an EPA spokeswoman, the tribe needs approximately $20 million to complete the project – money the tribe just doesn’t have.

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Photo credit: By John Fowler from Placitas, NM