Oct 11, 2021

EPA Announces $15.8 Million to Improve Access to Drinking Water in Alaskan Village of Tununak

This funding will be placed into an interagency agreement between EPA and the Indian Health Service and will be used to boost public health protections by improving access to safe water for drinking, cooking, and hygiene.

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The U.S. EPA announced $15.8 million in water infrastructure funding for projects that will improve access to safe drinking water for the Alaska Native Village of Tununak. 

According to the EPA, this funding will be placed into an interagency agreement between EPA and the Indian Health Service and will be used to boost public health protections by improving access to safe water for drinking, cooking, and hygiene.

EPA is awarding this grant funding to the Indian Health Service, which will provide over $6.4 to support the village, reported EPA. The goals are to improve water access and support the creation of a new public water system to benefit the community, a community of approximately 360 people.

“While most people have access to reliable and safe water, some communities lack this basic necessity—even today,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox in the EPA press release. “With this grant funding, EPA will help build drinking water systems to improve water access and water quality for the residents of Tununak.”

Similarly, on Apr. 26, 2021, EPA announced that it intended to fund water infrastructure totaling $9 million for projects that will improve access to drinking water for Tuluksak and Stebbins, another Alaska Native Village. 

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“At EPA, we’re committed to improving water quality and to targeting funds to communities that need it most,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan in the EPA press release. “This funding will improve public health by providing vital drinking water infrastructure for two Tribal communities in Alaska where access to clean drinking water is greatly needed.”

The projects are funded under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act’s Assistance for Small and Disadvantaged Communities Grant program. According to EPA at the time of this announcement, $1.5 million will be awarded to Tuluksak, which had its only source of potable drinking water destroyed in a fire earlier in 2021. Combined with Indian Health Service funding, EPA’s WIIN grant will be used to fully fund the replacement facilities, reported the press release.

EPA also intended to award $7.5 million to Stebbins, a community of approximately 650 people. The village currently does not have a centralized drinking water or wastewater system and the funding will provide a sustainable water source for the community by providing piped water service to the unserved homes in Stebbins.  

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