Koyuk water plant operators save community water system from freeze-up

March 3, 2017

A severe cold snap in January wreaked havoc on several water systems around the state. In the community of Koyuk, water plant operators discovered a frozen raw water line and an underground leak that nearly drained their water storage tank. Their quick action and assistance from ANTHC’s Tribal Utility Support staff helped maintain the system and avoid costly repairs.

The frozen line and water leak impeded water flow through the system. Without adequate water circulating through the system, the other pipes and equipment were in danger of freezing up. The water plant operators, Koyuk’s Evette Henry and Steve Hoogendorn, utilized phone assistance from Tribal Utility Support staff for maintenance guidance to locate, excavate and repair the leak, all without the help of heavy equipment over the course of four frigid days and nights.

By the time the leak was fixed, the operators estimated that they were an hour away from losing the system. This situation demonstrates the resilience and dedication of local water plant operators, like Henry and Hoogendorn, and their crews, who go above and beyond to keep the water running for their communities.

ANTHC partners with communities to support water and sewer systems in rural Alaska. For more information, visit https://anthc.org/what-we-do/tribal-utility-support/.

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