After months of drought, Chignik Lagoon’s wells have finally filled with water

Chignik Lagoon, July 10, 2019. (Photo by Alex Hager/KDLG)

Over the summer, drought and damages to Chignik Lagoon’s water distribution system left the village without drinkable water. The state issued a boil water notice in July, and the wells were dry by August.

Residents relied on Packers Creek, which runs through the village, to supplement their needs through October. Now worries have subsided: At the end of October, the wells filled up and started producing water again.

“Things have calmed down a little bit,” said Village Administrator Michelle Anderson. We’ve been able to pump water from the wells again. We’ve had significant rainfall. It’s supporting our wells for the moment. Without snowfall and (snow)pack, we may run into an issue this winter, but we should make it through the summer.”

The village has bottled water left over in case the wells dry up again. Those were flown in during the summer and fall.

Chignik Lagoon is still on a boil water notice — the wells are cracked and the distribution system needs repairs. But the village council is working to address those issues.

The Bristol Bay Area Health Corp. flew out engineers to help repair parts of the distribution system in October. Anderson said the village council is exploring additional options.

“We are actively looking for funding to complete an engineering assessment and design. To either drill a new well, find a surface water source and/or fix or replace distribution systems,” Anderson said.

A mix of state and federal funds are available to finance drilling a backup well. Anderson wants that to coincide with the assessment and design of a new distribution system.

Metlakatla, which depends on water, has moved quickly to accommodate the realities of drought

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