Alaska Village to Get Rid of 'Honey Bucket System'

Many residents of Akiachak are forced to use a bucket as a bathroom
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2014 12:55 PM CDT
Alaska Village to Get Rid of 'Honey Bucket System'
Vilsack is scheduled to announce the funding Thursday Oct. 23, 2014 at a convention of Alaska Natives in Anchorage.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

In the western Alaska village of Akiachak, roughly half the homes use the "honey bucket system," which isn't nearly as sweet as it sounds. These homes lack indoor plumbing, so residents are forced to use large buckets as toilets; the waste is then deposited into village receptacles, which have been known to leak. Soon that should change: The village is on the receiving end of a $5 million grant that will go toward construction of sewer mains and other parts of a core system that can be hooked up later to 100 houses in the community still without indoor plumbing. But the buckets can't go just yet: The village hopes to begin construction in 2016, reports the AP.

The funds it will receive are part of $352 million in grants and loans earmarked for upgrades to rural water and wastewater systems that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is announcing today. Other awards for water system improvements include a $6 million loan and $3.7 million grant to Clay County Water Authority in Alabama; a $900,000 loan and $3.5 million grant for Truth or Consequences in New Mexico; an $11 million loan and a $3 million grant to Port Townsend, Wash.; and a $1.2 million loan and $3.6 million grant to Hartland, Maine. (More plumbing stories.)

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