Community profile: Chevak promotes healthy, sustainable water utilities through partnership with ARUCJune 9, 2017
Chevak is a growing community of 1,200 people located along the west coast of Alaska, and has been a valued member of ANTHC’s Alaska Rural Utilities Collaborative (ARUC) program since its inception in 2008. Since 2013, Chevak utility customers have seen a 50 percent decrease in their water and wastewater utility fees.
Due to the community’s continued growth, a new position was recently added to the water utility team to sustain the cost savings for the whole community. In May 2017, Chevak hired an administrative water and wastewater technician position to assist water plant operators with billing account records and the enforcement of collections. The technician position brings new employment to the community and is expected to support financial reserves to keep the water utility sustainable.
Chevak’s water plant operators, John Atchak, Patrick Patrick and Andrew Cholok, play a huge part in the system’s success and sustainability. Atchak has been a dedicated, lead level 1 operator and mentor to the other two operators at the plant since 1983. As a team, they operate and maintain the system and have completed projects such as plumbing the diesel fuel supply line to track fuel usage, remove water from the fuel lines to make the transfer of fuel easier, and prevent any clogs and freeze-ups in the sewer service line (pictured).
Chevak is a great example of successful community management and effective operational efforts. Together, ARUC and member communities collaboratively manage, operate and maintain each community’s water and sanitation services. This partnership prolongs the life of the systems and provides more affordable, clean, and reliable water and wastewater systems for users, contributing to the public health needs of our Alaska Native communities.
To learn more about ANTHC’s work in ARUC member communities, visit https://www.anthc.org/what-we-do/tribal-utility-support/alaska-rural-utility-collaborative-aruc/.