Chinle Road Yard building

Chinle Road Yard building.

APACHE COUNTY — The Apache County Board of Supervisors recently approved a $12,000 contract to monitor groundwater pollution by a county facility.

The Chinle road maintenance yard had a leaking fuel tank years ago, which required the county to dig up the tank and repair the leak.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency required the county to monitor whether the spilled fuels had gotten into the groundwater, causing potential health problems.

However, “somebody dropped the ball” when it came to performing the monitoring, the county engineer told the board at its most recent meeting.

As a result, the board, without comment, approved the $12,000 monitoring contract with En Tech, a Valley engineering firm.

The contract was checked by US Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency as well as the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency.

The contract calls for regular monitoring of pollutants in four existing wells to determine whether a previously detected underground plume of pollution has continued to spread. The engineering company will first establish a baseline level of possible contaminants in the groundwater. The company will then send the water out to a laboratory for ongoing testing.

The county will unseal the wells on a regular schedule before the water monitors from the engineering company arrive for the sampling. Any water pumped out of the wells will go into barrels for later disposal as hazardous waste.

The contract establishes a $124-an-hour rate for a lead engineer and hourly rates of $47 to $124 for other workers, plus a 10 percent markup for the subcontractor.

Peter Aleshire covers county government and other topics for the Independent. He is the former editor of the Payson Roundup. Reach him at

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