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.

Projects

Alaska Water-Sewer Challenge The Alaska Water and Sewer Challenge looks for innovative, affordable water and sewer solutions for rural households.
Venetie Prototype Home The Venetie teacher housing four-plex uses super-insulated log walls to integrate traditional resources and high-performance building science.
Holistic Pilot Project in Oscarville Bringing local communities together with development professionals to tackle the energy, housing, and infrastructure challenges in rural Alaska.
Bethel Aviation Housing CCHRC partnered with the Association of Village Council Presidents (AVCP) to design two duplexes for flight school students in Bethel. The duplexes demonstrate the integrated truss technology and energy efficient building strategies in a hub community, helping to publicly vet these approaches and serve as model homes in the region.
Quinhagak Prototype Home The Native Village of Kwinhagak has asked CCHRC to partner with residents to design a super-efficient prototype house, which was completed in 2010. The design features an octagonal-shape, to hold heat and shed wind-driven rain, and an innovative wall system that is light, simple, and mobile.