Portable Alternative Sanitation System (PASS)
CCHRC worked with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and Lifewater Engineering to develop affordable water and wastewater system for Kivalina, a village on the Chuckchi Sea coast. Residents currently drink untreated water from the river and dispose of human waste in buckets, which is linked to elevated rates of illness and skin disease.
ANTHC and CCHRC designed an innovative water-sewer system that improves sanitation without the high capital cost of piped water and sewer. The design includes a 100-gallon water tank, pump, and filtration system. The resident hauls water into the home from a source of their choice (a water treatment plant, chopping ice from a clean lake in the winter, rainwater in the summer) and pumps the water into the 100-gallon tank, using a manual hand pump or an electric pump. This gives individuals the option to save electricity. CCHRC built water tanks with filtration systems in our lab in Fairbanks and they were installed in 10 Kivalina homes in 2015.
Honey buckets (5-gallon buckets that had to be emptied by hand) were replaced by separating toilets that separate solids and liquids. Solids settle into a compartment inside the toilet and are dried into a patty by a fan. The dried waste can be burned in the stove. Liquids are collected in a tank underneath the toilet and can be emptied or plumbed into an underground filtration system.
The goal of this project was to identify sanitation improvements for the residents of Kivalina and provide clean water and a healthier living environment throughout rural Alaska.
See a diagram of the system here.
See ANTHC's full report on the project here.
In 2017 CCHRC and ANTHC are collaborating on phase 2 of the project which will install updated PASS systems in homes in Allakaket, Alatna, and Chalkyitsik.