Murkowski: “One Step Closer to the Last Honeybucket”

Senator Lauds Federal Resources to Support Alaska’s Infrastructure Needs

Senator Lisa Murkowski today welcomed the announcement from United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack that Alaska’s rural community infrastructure needs will receive more than $12 million to boost the construction, maintenance, and upgrading of water and wastewater systems throughout rural Alaska.

“A cornerstone of my commitment to Alaska has been to bring safe water and sewer systems to our rural communities, where they are still seeking 20th century standards in the 21st century, and this is a further step in my fight to bring them basic but critical services for their health and quality of life,” said Murkowski.  “One of my proudest moments as a U.S. Senator was flying back to Buckland to deliver on my promise to Dora Hadley that I’d be there for the village’s ‘First Flush’ ceremony.  With today’s news for Shageluk, Akiachak, Quinhagak, and Nunapitchuk, we are one step closer to the last honeybucket, and nearing the last of our first flushes.”

(Senator Murkowski celebrates Buckland’s ‘First Flush’ with Eunice Hadley, 9/26/2011)

Senator Murkowski believes that as Congress reprioritizes federal spending across-the-board, attention and resources must be devoted to the most basic needs of clean water and plumbing infrastructure to support public health.  She has consistently protected the funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Alaska Native Village Grants – also known as ‘Village Safe Water’ (VSW) through her work on the Appropriations Committee and by defending the program’s importance with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.

VSW funds are used to build washeterias, septic tanks, piped systems and holding tanks to provide potable water to a community. As Congress has sought opportunities to cut federal spending on unnecessary or inefficient programs, Murkowski has made sure the nation’s commitment to Village Safe Water remains constant at over $20 million.

USDA Rural Development Rural Alaska Village Grant Program

  • Technical Assistance Training grant of $400,000 to the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium to do energy audits for a minimum of 8 small community water and sewer systems.
  • Water and Waste Disposal Grant of $400,000 to Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation to fund the Remote Maintenance Worker technical assistance program that provides on-site training for water and wastewater operators in system operation and maintenance, preventive maintenance plans and schedules, etc.
  • Water and Wastewater Disposal Grant of $73,313 to ANTHC for preliminary cost and analysis of pre-development (engineering, environmental, design, and rights of way) for water and wastewater well testing and preliminary engineering report for Shageluk.
  • Water and Waste Disposal Grant to ANTHC of $4,998,399 to construct water and wastewater systems (sewer mains, lift station, buried water mains, archeological monitoring, and support services) to serve additional homes in in Akiachak.
  • Water and Waste Disposal Grant of $2,001,750 to Alaska DEC (with an SOA match of $667,250) to construct water and wastewater systems in Quinhagak to replace 2800 feet of existing water transfer lines and to close the existing honeybucket sewage lagoon.  This is the final phase of the community-wide piped system for the community. 
  • Water and Waste Disposal Grant of $4,236,000 to Alaska DEC to build a new water treatment plant and washeteria in Nunapitchuk due to excessive levels of copper since 2009 and extending the above ground sewer force main and school water line to the new location; also for a new 20,000 gallon fuel tank to serve the new facility.

USDA Rural Development Solid Waste Management Grant

  • $250,000 to Zender Environmental Health and Research Group of Anchorage to update and deliver four solid waste management and planning training courses and technical assistance in various communities.