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Alaska Native “Strike Force” Community Observes Earth Day with Improved Water Service

The City of Kasaan’s new 150,000 gallon water storage tank.  Quality water for an Alaska Native Community provided through the USDA Rural Alaska Village Grant Program,  Photo taken by Jerry Cnossen, Project Superintendent for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) and used with permission.

The City of Kasaan’s new 150,000 gallon water storage tank. Quality water for an Alaska Native Community provided through the USDA Rural Alaska Village Grant Program, Photo taken by Jerry Cnossen, Project Superintendent for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) and used with permission.

The rural Native village of Kasaan is located in Southeast Alaska and is nearly 700 miles north of Seattle. Earth Day 2013 highlighted USDA Rural Development’s efforts to improve environmental and health conditions in rural Alaskan communities.  Part of that effort is the successful completion of the Kasaan Water Project.

Secretary Tom Vilsack announced funding of the project in the summer of 2011.  The funding was provided through USDA’s Rural Alaska Village Grant (RAVG) program. The project is another successful culmination in the partnerships between USDA, the State of Alaska, the Indian Health Service and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC).  The new infrastructure was put into operation after a final inspection on March 20th.

“This water system project was essential in providing facilities that are environmentally safe and meet necessary drinking water standards,” said USDA-RD Alaska State Director Jim Nordlund.  “The water treatment plant and water storage tank now provide quality drinking water to the residents of Kasaan,” he added.

“The community of Kasaan needed a larger water plant that would be able to meet our current and future demands plus meet new Environmental Protection Agency regulations.  USDA helped supply the necessary funds to build a larger water plant and new storage tank in a safer location.  The community of Kasaan will now have a safer and more adequate supply of drinking water,” said Kasaan City Mayor, Audrey L. Escoffon.

Southeast Alaska is one of the areas recently identified for USDA’s new “StrikeForce” initiative.  The economy and jobs in Southeast have been affected by the downturn of the timber industry in the area. Rural Development and other USDA agencies are working to promote efforts for partnering with rural communities and regions on projects that promote economic growth.

For more information on USDA’s Earth Day activities and the water quality projects that were recently funded click here.  To view a video outlining the StrikeForce initiative click here.

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