Navajo Nation Learns What’s in the Water
About 1,000 abandoned uranium mines have contaminated well water for the 25,000-square-mile Navajo Nation, which covers parts of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. During the late 1990s and early 2000s the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers collected data from springs and wells about water contamination, but the information rarely made it back to the nearby property owners. Since 2003 Franz Geiger, associate professor of physical chemistry, and a team of Northwestern undergraduates have worked with Groundswell Educational Films to build an educational website to document the contamination. The website, navajowater.org, offers interactive maps and accessible data to inform Navajo communities about the hazards in their well water.