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Kick The Bucket: Rural Sanitation in Alaska

According to the news in this Arctic Sounder article by Shady Grove Oliver, solutions to rural Alaska's need for clean, affordable and sustainable water and sewer systems may be emerging. 

New waste management system heads for Kivalina

Joaqlin Estus / KNBA

The slide show above gives glimpses of life in the dozens of villages in Alaska that lack flush toilets and running water. 

To find out more, click on the links below, Parts 1-5, to see and hear the series "Kick the Bucket: Rural Sanitation in Alaska." 

Joaqlin Estus / KNBA

May 1, 2015

Over the past four days, we have brought you stories that go out into the field for an in-depth look at Alaska's rural sanitation situation - a series we call "Kick the Bucket."  We have seen how the lack of modern sanitation is linked to disease as people strain the limits of their clean water supply. And we have looked at the implications of decreasing funding and looming maintenance expenses in villages with a limited cash economy.   Today we’ll wrap up the series by trying to look into the future.

Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Village Safe Water Program

April 30, 2015

What if you didn’t have piped water and sewer, and the government wasn’t picking up the tab to get you some? How would you find a low-cost system that you could keep running through the winter? In this segment of “Kick the Bucket,” find out how experts are looking for answers to rural sanitation issues in Alaska.

Villagers and people in the water and sewer business can name dozens of ways systems have failed due to parts that shattered in the cold, say, or components that had to be flown in from Europe and installed by a Lower 48 specialist.

Joaqlin Estus / KNBA

April 29, 2015

Even rural communities that have raised the money to build modern sanitation systems face the threat of their ultimate failure due to the lack of funding for operations and maintenance, wiping away whatever health gains were achieved.

The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation Environmental Health and Engineering Department provides technical assistance to water treatment plant operators in the region. Here’s a bit of the conversation during a recent teleconference.

Bill Griffith, Mike Black / ADEC, ANTHC

April 28, 2015

Most of us have never lived with without running water at home. Today, we’ll learn about some people who are just getting used to it, and others who would like to get used to having running water. In the second segment of the series Kick the Bucket, we’ll also hear some of the reasons Alaska hasn’t made modern plumbing a simple fact of life for all Alaskans.

Dan Winkleman, the president of the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC), described a recent phone call from his mother-in-law in Kwethluk.

April 27

How many times a day do you wash your hands? 

If you have running water, you probably wash your hands many times a day, each time in clean, warm water. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, hand washing consumes one gallon of water per wash.

Joaqlin Estus / KNBA

April 27, 2015

How the lack of running water and flush toilets affects public health in Alaska

Joaqlin Estus / KNBA

April 22, 2015

Join the FACEBOOK discussion HERE

With dwindling federal and state funding for water and sewer systems, alternatives are needed. Find out more about the Dump the Bucket campaign to create a decentralized system incorporating recycled water.

http://kyuk.org/bethel-team-envisions-gray-water-recycling/

Charles Enoch / KYUK

April 21, 2015

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