Building drinking water capacity in native alaskan villages
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Building Drinking Water Capacity in Native Alaskan Villages. Cindy Christian State of Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Drinking Water Program Old Wooden Water Tank in Larsen Bay (DCED). Health Problem.

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Building Drinking Water Capacity in Native Alaskan Villages

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Building drinking water capacity in native alaskan villages

Building Drinking Water Capacity in Native Alaskan Villages

Cindy Christian

State of Alaska

Department of Environmental Conservation

Drinking Water Program

Old Wooden Water Tank in Larsen Bay (DCED)


Health problem

Health Problem

  • Historically, there have been high rates of diseases associated with unsafe drinking water and lack of sanitation in Alaska Native Villages:

    • Hepatitis A

    • Diarrhea

    • Skin rashes and boils

    • Pneumonia

      House in Shishmaref (DCED)


Public health intervention

Public Health Intervention

  • To address the public health problem, federal and state agencies were funded to build water treatment plants and sewage lagoons in villages:

  • ANTHC

  • VSW

  • ADEC Drinking Water Program

  • Water Storage Tank in Shaktoolik (DCED)


Safe drinking water act

Safe Drinking Water Act

  • The 1996 Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) require that all public water systems demonstrate that they have the technical, managerial and financial capacity to deliver safe drinking water to their consumers

  • The ADEC Drinking Water Program is the “primacy” agency responsible for implementing the SDWA in Alaska

  • Demonstrating capacity has been a challenge for Alaska Native Villages

  • Public health goals continue to be unmet

    Village of Gambell (DCED Division of Community Advocacy)


Problem statement

Problem Statement

  • Why are Alaska Native Villages having difficulty developing the technical, managerial and financial capacity necessary to produce safe drinking water?

    Elder and child in Little Diomede (DCED)


Main reasons

Main Reasons

  • Lack of Trained Operators

  • Lack of Economic Resources

  • Geographic/Climatic Extremes

  • Lack of Commitment in the Village

  • Social Concerns/Issues

    Watering Point in Hooper Bay (DCED Division of Community Advocacy)


Building drinking water capacity in native alaskan villages

There are people getting sick…

Rural systems should not be held to the same standards…

Funding to Build PWS in Native Villages

“It is more important just to keep the system running”

B

PWS do not have Technical, Managerial and Financial Capacity to Remain in Compliance with the Drinking Water Regulations

High Levels of Disease

Related to Drinking

Water and Sanitation

R

B

Fund Projects that will Address Public Health Problems but That Villages can Operate

We need to link Drinking Water Regulations to Public Health Protection

Shifting

The

Burden

Archetype


Project objectives

Project Objectives

  • Improve coordination and communication between Technical Assistance Providers

  • Improve communications with Alaska Native Villages

  • Develop a new process to address historic EPA SNC’s

  • Identify villages that would benefit from process

  • Provide Cross Cultural Training for Drinking Water Program Staff

    Children on Beach in Perryville (DCED Division of Community Advocacy)


The native village of gambell

The Native Village of Gambell

  • Located on St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea

  • Population is approximately 660

  • Most people are Yup’ik Eskimo

  • One of the most traditional villages in Alaska

  • Subsistence lifestyle based on hunting of marine mammals

  • The drinking water comes from an infiltration gallery and is treated by filtration and disinfection

  • Most people use the water

    View of Gambell from Hill (DCED)


Building drinking water capacity in native alaskan villages

Map by Johnny Mendez, ADEC Drinking Water Program

Views of Gambell (DCED)


Progress to date

Progress to Date

  • Monthly coordination meetings with the Technical Assistance Providers (TAP) have been held every month since January 2006.

  • A diagnostic process for addressing historic SNC’s has been developed by the TAP group.

  • The Native Village of Gambell has participated in the process and has returned to compliance with all Drinking Water Regulations.

  • Additional villages have been selected to participate in the process.

  • All Drinking Water Program staff have completed Cross Cultural Training.

  • Drinking Water Program communications (letters, phone) have been revised to eliminate unnecessary regulatory language.

    Whale Bones in Gambell (DCED Division of Community Advocacy)


Next steps

Next Steps

  • Continue to build meaningful partnerships with other TAP’s

  • Identify additional villages that would benefit from the TAP process

  • Review the diagnostic tool to ensure accuracy

  • Enhance the working relationship between DW Program and VSW and ANTHC

  • Work with EPA to develop a definition of “significant compliance” for villages

  • Foster mentoring relationships between villages

    Kotzebue Sound (Johnny Mendez, ADEC Drinking Water Program)


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