• 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

  • Cougars make Bartlett feel at home with all-inclusive trip

    by Dave Goldman on May 22, 21:58

    They may compete on the field, but in the end, they’re one team. It showed more than ever on senior night. At a recent game while honoring their own, the Service High School girls soccer team also graciously extended a warm welcome to their opponent, Bartlett. But this was nothing new and is four years […]

  • News

    ‘Just get help’: Family of woman killed in boyfriend’s apparent suicide attempt speaks out

    by Daniella Rivera on May 22, 21:52

    It’s been 33 days since 22-year-old Brittany-Mae Haag’s family learned they’ll never see her again. “[Police said] that it was a shot from Victor Sibson, that he shot my daughter,” said Sheila Lopez, Haag’s mother. Lopez spent the majority of the month since her daughter died thinking Haag’s boyfriend of six years, 21-year-old Victor Sibson, killed her […]

  • APD investigating Government Hill shooting

    by KTVA Web Staff on May 22, 21:30

    Anchorage Police say they’re investigating shooting in the Government Hill area. Late-Monday evening, officers were called to the parking lot of a Subway at Hollywood and Vine where they were seen taking photographs of a yellow vehicle. KTVA’s reporter on scene says blood could be seen in the parking lot near the vehicle. After it […]

  • News

    Hiland Mountain plant sale starts Tuesday

    by Lauren Maxwell on May 22, 20:21

    The plant sale at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center is an event that some people wait all year for. Not just the people who come to buy beautiful hanging baskets but the inmates who grow them, as well. The sale has been going on for at least 20 years, according to Superintendent Gloria Johnson. Most of […]

  • Politics

    Alaska House approves measure limiting opioid prescriptions

    by Liz Raines on May 22, 20:14

    On Monday, the Alaska House passed a bill to limit initial opioid prescriptions to a seven-day supply. House Bill 159 is part of a push from Governor Bill Walker’s administration to address the state’s growing opioid epidemic, which Walker declared a disaster in February. While members of the House spent nearly four hours debating the […]

  • Politics

    Sullivan’s town hall highlights senators’ difference on Planned Parenthood funding

    by Heather Hintze on May 22, 20:07

    Senator Dan Sullivan’s (R-Alaska) town hall in Anchorage over the weekend highlighted how he and fellow republican Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) differ on funding for Planned Parenthood. He discussed a variety of topics from fighting opioid abuse to diversifying our economy, but it was the topic of healthcare that really got the crowd engaged. “My […]

  • Weather

    Record rainfall recorded across SE Alaska

    by Melissa Frey on May 22, 17:18

    Significant rain fell across most of Southcentral and Southeast Alaska this weekend as a storm system moved in from the Gulf of Alaska. For Southcentral, this was the wettest day seen in months. Anchorage picked up 0.25 inches of rain on Sunday alone. This was the most rain recorded in Anchorage since late-September of 2016. […]

  • News

    Search underway for 2 overdue boaters

    by KTVA Web Staff on May 22, 17:13

    Late Monday morning, a search began for two overdue boaters in Togiak. The Togiak Village Public Safety Officer contacted Alaska State Police around 11:15 Monday morning to report two overdue boaters. Troopers say Simeon Wassillie and Stephanie Poulsen, both 25, left the village on Saturday in an 18-foot, blue, open hull, 35hp boat and were […]