The funding, announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, follows a new Memorandum of Understanding between Rural Development and program partners to improve efforts to provide clean water and improved sanitation services to the villages.
Program partners include USDA, Alaska's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, U.S. Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), Indian Health Service and the Denali Commission.
"Rural Development made a commitment to streamline the Rural Alaska Village Grant program and this funding is the result of that commitment," Vilsack said. "Residents of these rural communities will now be able to have running water for cooking, cleaning and laundry that most people take for granted."
In one of the planned projects, the community of Old Kasigluk will use grant funds to construct core facilities, including a water treatment plant, washeteria, a water storage tank, lift station, and a sewer force main to transport wastewaster directly to a recently constructed sewage lagoon. The washeteria, a centralized running-water facility, will provide the residents of Old Kasigluk, a rural community in southwestern Alaska, with access to clean water for cooking, cleaning and washing.
The improvements are the first upgrades needed to provide the community with quality sanitary services and replace structurally unsound facilities that can no longer be used. The residents of the community currently haul water and dispose of wastewater by utilizing "honey" buckets.
Communities receiving grant funds under this announcement include:
Toksook Bay, $5,252,400
Old Kasigluk, $4,082,250
Nunam Iqua, $137,655