Human Waste Polluting Tonto And Christopher Creeks


Gila County has been given more than half a million dollars in the last two years to clean up wastewater systems.

The systems are in the Tonto Creek headwaters and Christopher Creek areas, according to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.


Tonto Creek

The money for the project was awarded to the county by the ADEQ along with money from the federal government through the Clean Water Act.

ADEQ reports it has identified human sewage as a major contributing factor to pollution adversely impacting Tonto and Christopher creeks.

"This grant will help Gila County protect the health and safety of county residents by improving surface water quality and preventing contamination of groundwater," said Steve Owens, director of the ADEQ, when he presented a ceremonial check of $258,300 at the April 25 meeting of the board of supervisors.

The county was given $252,764 in 2005 by ADEQ for the first phase of the project.

"In the first phase we replaced 10 systems," said David Fletcher, director of the county health department that is doing the project work.

He expects another 10 will be replaced in the second phase.

"If more money is needed to finish the job, we will go to the state and ask for it," he said.

The county's share of the project is in-kind, through labor and materials, Fletcher said.

The systems being replaced have included illegal cesspools, privies and failing septic systems, according to ADEQ.

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