Water pipes to be spray-painted to warn of contamination
Water pipe contractors in northern New Mexico say they will spray a water-piping label with the words “pipeline pollution” on a pipe.
The contractor, which uses an industry-standard spray-on label for piping, has been testing the label with other chemicals to identify possible contamination.
The company has used the label on water pipes that run into the Navajo Nation.
The label, which is on the underside of the pipe and can be seen by someone standing near the pipe, says the water supply has been contaminated by “polluting materials.”
The Navajo Nation has ordered the company to stop spraying the label, but said it is notifying the tribe that it will be taking legal action against the company for violating the tribe’s pollution restrictions.
The company has been told that the Navajo Code of Practice requires the label to be sprayed on water systems where it will harm drinking water, said Mike Echols, the general manager of the contractor’s Albuquerque office.
He said the label will be applied as part of the company’s standard maintenance program.
Echols said the labels are a standard part of any company’s operations.
It’s not unusual for companies to do that, he said.
He added that he and his team have been spraying the labels on water lines for a number of years and the label has never been detected on water pipe.
Echuls said the company is currently working on a plan to spray the label.
The tribe, which owns the land where the water pipe is located, said the spraying is the only way to prevent contamination from leaking into the water.
The Navajo Code requires companies to ensure their facilities comply with pollution controls.
In a statement, the tribe said the use of a spray-paint label is not an acceptable method of dealing with a possible contamination problem.
The pipeline is owned by a local firm, Mote, and is part of a pipeline network that runs through the community of Ojibwe, a tribe member told The Associated Press.
The tribe said its pipeline company will not be required to pay for the spray-and-stick labeling.
The AP’s Julie Bykowicz contributed to this report.