Ouzinkie secures funding for water main replacement, protecting community access to waterFebruary 25, 2019
With help from the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and Spruce Island Development Corporation, the City of Ouzinkie, a community just north of Kodiak, secured nearly $2 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). CDBG grants are provided to help local governments tackle serious challenges facing their communities. In Ouzinkie’s case, the funding will help replace aging pipes that carry water from the reservoir to the city’s water treatment plant and hydroelectric power plant. In 2015 and 2016, the current pipe failed for several days when an improperly bedded portion cracked from repeated rubbing against bedrock. This left residents without drinking water or power and frozen pipes caused property damage in community homes. Because of Ouzinkie’s remote location and often-tumultuous weather, residents found it difficult to relocate and adjust during the days without these necessities. To make funding agencies aware of the problem and properly convey the difficult situation residents are facing in Ouzinkie, the city partnered with ANTHC and Spruce Island Development Corporation to complete applications for the CDBG and USDA Rural Economic Development grant/loan. Ouzinkie’s CDBG application was one of three chosen from a pool of 30 applicants. With assistance from ANTHC and the focused attention of a grant writer, the community met funding agency requirements and obtained necessary resources to repair this vital public health infrastructure. Once completed, this project will provide more reliable water and power resources for the community. Ouzinkie residents’ advocacy for the completion of this project helps the community live healthier and more resilient lives.