Water, sewer task force bills take a step forward

Quinhagak's sanitation system, part of the Village Safe Water Program. Photo courtesy CRW Engineering

A measure helping villages set up safe water and sewer systems is getting some attention in the Legislature.

The bill would create a task force that would collect information and look into simple systems that could work in rural communities. It would also come up with a list of the most-needed projects.

The measure passed out of the House Community and Regional Affairs Committee on Friday (March 23rd.) It’s a companion bill similar to one in the Senate sponsored by Angoon Democratic Senator Albert Kookesh.

“We’ve got numbers that show that there are 6,000 homes that are without water and sewer in rural Alaska. Nobody seems to be paying a lot of attention to them. So we’re concentrated on it and hopefully we can put that together and people will pay attention to that,” he says.

The Senate measure made it out of the chamber’s Community and Regional Affairs Committee around the beginning of March. Both bills next go to their chambers’ Finance Committees.

If passed, the nine-member task force would research water and sewer systems in other northern nations. It would also work with state and federal agencies to streamline regulations and fund programs that could speed development.

Fiscal notes estimate the task force would need about $100,000 for its one year of work.

The measures are House Bill 362 and Senate Bill 147.

Recent headlines

  • dollar bill money macro

    Per diems driving special session costs

    Lawmakers who represent areas outside Juneau receive $295 for each day of the special session. Juneau lawmakers receive $221.25 per day.
  • Caroline Hoover proudly pins an Alaska Territorial Guard medal on the front of her father's parka during an official discharge ceremony held Oct. 17 in Kipnuk, Alaska. David Martin is one of three surviving members of the Alaska Territorial Guard's Kipnuk unit. A total of 59 residents of Kipnuk, who volunteered to defend Alaska in the event of a Japanese invasion during World War II, were recognized during the ceremony. Kipnuk residents who served with the Alaska Territorial Guard from 1942-1947 were members of a U.S. Army component organized in response to attacks by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor. (Photo by Jerry Walton, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs cultural resource manager and native liaison/public domain/Wikimedia Commons)

    16 Alaska Territorial Guard vets to be honored in Anchorage

    Sixteen veterans of the Alaska Territorial Guard will be honored at a discharge ceremony today. Four of them are from Western Alaska.
  • Don Andrew Roguska looks out from an upstairs window of an historic Juneau house he bought in 2016 to restore. Zoning regulations have prevented him from rebuilding in the same style. (Photo by Jacob Resneck/KTOO)

    Juneau mulls relaxing zoning rules for historic houses

    The historic houses in Juneau and Douglas were predominately built by miners and fishermen long before today's zoning was put into place. That's prevented homeowners from restoring or rebuilding homes in these neighborhoods without running into conflict with the city's zoning laws -- a temporary fix may be on the way.
  • Young joins Afghanistan war skeptics in Congress

    Alaska U.S. Rep. Don Young wants to know why Americans are still fighting in Afghanistan. He has co-sponsored a bill that would end funding for the war in a year, unless the president and Congress affirm the need for it.
X