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Kivalina sanitation systems receive positive reception

December 18, 2015

On December 7, ANTHC’s Engineering and Construction team traveled to Kivalina for the final inspection of their pilot project: in-home water and sanitation units. Representatives from NANA, the Cold Climate Housing Research Center, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Rural Development joined in the visit to meet with homeowners, the Tribe, the City, and to observe the new systems.

Since the completion of construction, homeowners in Kivalina have been actively engaged in the pilot project and have shared information with the team that has led to modifications and system improvements.

“Most participants are very pleased with their system as they no longer have to use wash basins for hand washing and the need to haul waste away is less frequent,” said ANTHC Environmental Health Consultant Korie Hickel. “One homeowner stated that this is a great improvement over the honey bucket while another who had just moved back from Kotzebue reported that he was very satisfied and that all communities without running water should have this. It’s safer for the communities and kids.”

To date, the average water usage per person in each home ranges between three and five gallons per day from the water system in addition to supplementing water from other sources. It is expected homes will continue to increase their water use as they learn to fully adapt to the new systems. One mother shared that she hasn’t had to take any of her children to the clinic this fall for the first time in years, and she believes it’s because her kids wash their hands in the new sink all the time now. ANTHC staff and the National Tribal Water Center look forward to continue working with the homeowners over the next year.

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