- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 31, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Alaska’s rural communities are set to receive $27 million in federal funds to help improve sanitation.

The funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development program announced Tuesday will support water, sewer and solid waste projects.

The money will also be used to improve technical assistance and training, preliminary engineering and planning, and solid waste management, KTUU-TV reported (https://bit.ly/2bYtYSX ).

“These investments help to bring basic services to communities that most Americans take for granted,” said Jim Norlund, state director of the federal program.

The village of Eek in southwestern Alaska will receive $5.9 million for a water and sewer project. Western Alaska’s Unalakleet is getting $6.6 million for a water source and transmission project, while Saxman, in southeast Alaska, has been awarded $3.2 million to improve its wastewater system.

“Many of these communities are located in rural areas of persistent poverty that USDA has targeted for special assistance,” Norlund said.

The funding comes as the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation is starting to look at alternatives for providing individual plumbing on a house-by-house basis in some rural communities, according to Bill Griffith, facilities program manager for the department.

About 30 villages in Alaska lack indoor plumbing, a decrease from 41 villages in 2012, Griffith said.

Officials say the state is required to match one-third of the $27 million awarded by the federal government.

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Information from: KTUU-TV, https://www.ktuu.com


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