City delays settlement over wastewater at sacred site in Arizona

The sacred San Francisco Peaks in Arizona. Photo by Tyler finvold / Wikipedia

A settlement between the Hopi Tribe and the city of Flagstaff, Arizona, has been put on hold indefinitely.

The tribe reached the settlement to address the use of reclaimed sewage at the San Francisco Peaks. But some city council members questioned the costs of building and maintaining a filtration system required by the deal, The Arizona Daily Sun reported.

Leaders of the Navajo Nation also expressed objections because they weren't involved in talks. Native activists who have been fighting to protect the peaks were concerned as well.

“It’s hard to stand against what the Hopis are doing, but it’s hard to be completely left out, as stakeholders,” Navajo activist Klee Benally told the city council, Indian Country Today reported. “I can’t support further contamination of the sacred San Francisco Peaks.”

The city has a contract to supply reclaimed wastewater to the Arizona Snowbowl, a privately-owned ski resort. The facility uses the wastewater to make fake snow.

The Hopi Tribe, the Navajo Nation and other tribes contend the presence of the treated sewage desecrates the sacred site. But they were unsuccessful in making their case through a series of lawsuits against the U.S. Forest Service. The Arizona Snowbowl is located in the Coconino National Forest.

Get the Story:
SETTLEMENT TABLED (The Arizona Daily Sun 3/10)
San Francisco Peaks Settlement Between Hopi and Flagstaff Comes Under Fire (Indian Country Today 3/10)

Join the Conversation

Related Stories
Activists protest use of reclaimed wastewater in sacred peaks (11/19)
Hopi Tribe working on settlement over wastewater at sacred site (06/16)
City extended contract to send treated sewage to sacred site (03/27)
Navajo Nation files human rights petition to protect sacred site (03/04)
Winter King: Protecting sacred sites after Supreme Court case (7/16)
Al Jazeera: Hopi Tribe still battling wastewater at sacred site (2/10)
Hopi Tribe continues lawsuit over wastewater at sacred site (1/9)
Court revives Hopi Tribe's suit over wastewater at sacred site (4/26)
Hopi Tribe withdraws lawsuit against wastewater at sacred site (1/9)
NYT Blog: Hopi Tribe lodges new lawsuit to protect sacred site (11/20)
Hopi Tribe files lawsuit over reclaimed sewage at sacred site (11/16)
City brings in expert to look at sewage in San Francisco Peaks (10/10)
Navajo activist won't give up fight over sewage at sacred site (09/27)
Attorney in San Francisco Peaks litigation won't face sanctions (08/30)
Opinion: Indian activists not welcome by federal appeals court (6/27)
Appeals court sanctions lawyer in San Francisco Peaks litigation (6/21)
9th Circuit rejects bid to protect sacred San Francisco Peaks (02/09)
9th Circuit takes up dispute over sacred San Francisco Peaks (01/10)
9th Circuit debates dispute over sacred San Francisco Peaks (1/9)
Courts consider two lawsuits over snowmaking at sacred site (11/22)
BBC: Hopi Tribe battles reclaimed sewage at sacred peaks (10/20)
Editorial: Hopi Tribe lawsuit over fake snow seems misguided (9/1)
Earth 911: Skiing on reclaimed wastewater -- gross or green? (8/30)
Uprising: Hopi Tribe fights to keep wastewater off sacred site (8/29)
Fast Company: Hopi Tribe fights bid for fake snow at sacred site (8/25)
Hopi Tribe files lawsuit to block use of wastewater at sacred site (8/24)