• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 46s

State-sponsored design challenge aims to end honey buckets in rural Alaska

By Heather Hintze 9:42 PM December 8, 2015

The State of Alaska is working to end the honey bucket system currently used in about 30 rural communities.

On Tuesday, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation launched Phase 3 of its Alaska Water and Sewer Challenge.

Three teams have $900,000 each to develop and test prototype systems over the next two years.

Team Dowl’s system is all about grey water recycling.

“There is a separate point of use filter and there’s a grey water system that recycles all the water to the other fixtures in the house,” said Project Engineer Chase Nelson.

Team Summit’s design would fit entirely into the home with three main loops that also rely on recycling.

“If 15 gallons is brought in, over the course of a day with four people, 60 gallons can be used and then about eight gallons have to be discharged,” Thea Agnew Bemben explained.

The University of Alaska Anchorage team came up with a shipping container unit outside the home that residents would be able to install themselves.

“We reuse water in the home for hygiene purposes and we re-use water in the home in the much smaller loop for toilet flushing so we can maximize the use of water,” said Aaron Dotson, associate professor at UAA.

There are an estimated 3,300 homes in about 30 communities around Alaska that still don’t have a sewer system or running water. Having an open waste collection site like a honey bucket can cause respiratory illnesses, especially in children.

“From a public health standpoint and from a life-enjoyment standpoint we need to bring everyone into today’s times,” said Nelson.

The state’s spending limit for each system is up to $160,000 for a capital — or start up — cost, then a maximum of $135 per month for utility costs.

Here’s how the numbers stack up so far:

  • Team Dowl: $75-80,000 capital, $135 a month for operations.
  • Team Summit: $75,000 capital, $120 a month for operations.
  • Team UAA is still working out figures but says the costs are similar to those set by the state.

The top designs will be field tested in homes in fall 2017.

Latest Stories

  • News

    AFD conducts water rescue training on Cook Inlet

    by KTVA Web Staff on Jun 25, 14:37

    The Anchorage Fire Department is warning people not to try and walk from the Anchorage shore across to Fire Island. Authorities say that too often, attempts turn deadly. Anchorage Fireman and their partners from Ted Stevens practiced water rescues Saturday afternoon. They were working with jet skis and a boat. AFD says in the summer, […]

  • News

    Columbus Day to be known as Indigenous Peoples day in Alaska

    by Liz Raines on Jun 25, 14:27

    From now on, Columbus Day in Alaska will be known as Indigenous Peoples day. Gov. Bill Walker signed House Bill 78 into law Saturday, in Utquiagvik, the town formerly known as Barrow. The signing took place at Nalukataq, the Inupiaq whaling festival. The setting was particularly symbolic for many there, where the American, Alaska and Inupiat […]

  • Anchorage’s Swayman, Evingson selected in NHL Draft

    by Dave Leval on Jun 25, 14:20

    Jeremy Swayman’s dad grew up a New York Rangers’ fan. Looks like he will have to root for another “Original Six” team. The Boston Bruins selected Jeremy in the fourth round of Saturday’s NHL Draft. The 18-year-old Anchorage native spent the last two seasons as a goalie with the Sioux Falls Stampede in the United […]

  • Sports

    Musher Travis Beals allowed to compete in 2018 Iditarod

    by KTVA Web Staff on Jun 25, 13:49

    Domestic violence is a big problem in Alaska, and this year, the issue made headlines when it became a focus of the last great race. A musher had to sit out of the Iditarod due to domestic violence charges against him. But now, musher Travis Beals could be back on the trail next March. Beals […]

  • News

    Brown bear mauls cyclist on JBER

    by KTVA Web Staff on Jun 25, 12:43

    The Alaska Department of Fish and Game says a pair of cyclists encountered a bear on JBER Saturday morning. Authorities say the pair came across a brown bear with cubs while cycling on a main gravel road near Clunie Lake. The cyclists used bear spray to fend off the sow, but one cyclist was “knocked […]

  • Statue stands in honor of Iditarod founder

    by Dave Leval on Jun 24, 22:21

    He already has a school named after him, now, there’s another way to honor the man known as the “father of the Iditarod.” It took Palmer artist Pat Garley took roughly 18 months to complete the “Joe Redington, Senior on the Trail” statue that sits outside Redington Junior-Senior High School. The part of Redington weighs […]

  • Rookie musher first to sign up for 2018 Iditarod

    by Dave Leval on Jun 24, 22:19

    Shaynee Traska has what she needs as she prepares for the biggest challenge of her athletic career. The Yukon Quest 300 veteran from Two Rivers wants to play with the big dogs. Traska is the first person to sign up for next year’s Iditarod. “Very surprised, being a big Iditarod sign up day, I thought […]

  • News

    Pride Fest celebrates 40 years in Anchorage

    by Heather Hintze on Jun 24, 18:04

    Hundreds of people turned out in downtown Anchorage for the 40th annual Pride Fest. Mo Haddock and Callene Monasmith set their lawn chairs up early to get a front for the parade. “It’s a lot of fun. We like to people watch anyway but today is very fulfilling. Very heartwarming to see so many people […]