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New water service in Eek eliminates honey buckets and improves health for residents

August 4, 2017

Residents of the Southwest Alaska community of Eek now have residential water service for the first time, thanks to a new community water distribution and low-pressure sewer collection system construction project by ANTHC with our community and funding partners.

This project has developed over the last 12 years through many phases. Prior to the current project phase, a new sewer lagoon was built and a new water intake into the Eek River was installed. Previous additions also include a new circulation building and generator building adjacent to the existing water treatment plant and washeteria.

There are 104 homes in Eek. Construction crews turned water on in the first home on July 10, and since then, they have connected 27 homes. An additional 22 to 27 homes are projected to be connected by the end of this construction season.

Resident Micha Heakin said the experience was surreal: “I grabbed my water pitcher to get water from the barrel, turned to the barrel, and it was gone. Then I remembered I had running water. And I also threw away my honey bucket!”

The community is extremely pleased. Bringing such a large and complex collaborative project to fruition has required the efforts of a large portion of ANTHC Environmental Health and Engineering employees including a dedicated field work crew. The project results would not be possible without the strong and talented efforts of the 18 local residents working on the project.

ANTHC Project Manager Kurt Sauers stated that Fritz Petluska, City Administrator, and Carlie Beebe, City Mayor, have worked diligently and patiently with ANTHC for the last 12 years to develop this project, which will eliminate the honey bucket and bring clean, safe running water to the homes in their community. This successful project helps remove barriers to health and wellness by making adequate water for personal hygiene readily available.

Funding partners for the project are Indian Health Service, Environmental Protection Agency, State of Alaska and USDA Rural Development Program.

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