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Thanks to USDA, Alaska Native Villages will have Safe, Reliable Water Supplies

Project Manager Mike MarcAurele looks at the water source for the Alaska Native village of Kasaan.  Working with our partners, USDA funding is being used to improve water quality and sanitation across rural Alaska.  (Photo used with permission of Jerry Cnossen, Superintendent, ANTHC – DEHE)

Project Manager Mike MarcAurele looks at the water source for the Alaska Native village of Kasaan. Working with our partners, USDA funding is being used to improve water quality and sanitation across rural Alaska. (Photo used with permission of Jerry Cnossen, Superintendent, ANTHC – DEHE)

Not many people know the names of our small rural Alaska villages, but USDA Rural Development does!  We are pleased to share the names of 14 of these communities and the great news they received on July 15th.

The predominately Alaska Native villages will receive $23.6 million through the Rural Alaska Village Grant (RAVG) program to fund water quality improvement projects in rural Alaska villages. The announcement of funding follows a new Memorandum of Understanding between Rural Development and program partners to improve efforts to provide clean water and improved sanitation services to the villages.

Jim Nordlund, the Alaska State Director for Rural Development launched the effort in April 2010 to establish a new streamlined process for the program. “The revitalized partnerships with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and State of Alaska are essential to help facilitate applications for essential water and wastewater facilities in rural Alaska,” Nordlund said.    The Rural Alaska Village grant program is crucial to help alleviate the dire sanitation conditions that exist due to lack of clean water and wastewater services.

For example, the community of Old Kasigluk will use grant funds for the construction of core facilities, including a water treatment plant and washeteria (where many residents wash their clothes and shower), water storage tank, lift station, and sewer force mains.  The system will replace a water treatment plant and washeteria facility that is structurally unsound and can no longer be used.  The improvements are the first upgrades needed to provide the community with quality sanitary services. The residents of the community currently haul water to their homes from a common water well and dispose of wastewater by utilizing “honey buckets,” which are carried from the home and dumped into a common collection site.

To read more about the awards and to view a complete list of the most recent recipients click here.

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