ANTHC has been working with the community of Kwigillingok over the past four years to construct a new sewage lagoon. The new lagoon will be a closed, two-cell system, which meets Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation requirements. The old lagoon was a single cell and discharged into an adjacent pit. The ANTHC construction crew arrived in Kwigillingok in January 2021 to begin work on the project. ANTHC staff followed all COVID-19 travel recommendations to reduce risk to the community. Swampy soils in the area would not support heavy equipment during summer, so excavation work had to be completed during the winter months when the soil was frozen. The ANTHC crew worked with local laborers and operators, which allowed for work to be completed in a timely manner and provided employment opportunities for community residents this winter. Winter work on the lagoon was completed in March 2021.
The crews on the ground did an outstanding job persevering through difficult weather conditions. ANTHC crews will return to Kwigillingok in the summer of 2021 to complete outstanding items that must be finished when the soil is thawed, including finishing work on the lagoon’s berm and slopes, installing an overflow weir between the cells, completing a new transfer station, installing a fence, and planting grass along the lagoon perimeter. Work is expected to take approximately two months to complete.
Abnormally warm winters in 2018 and 2019, in which the ground did not freeze solid enough to support heavy equipment, delayed completion of this project. In late 2020, ANTHC dispatched a mechanic to Kwigillingok to repair onsite heavy equipment to ensure that this project could begin as soon as the ground froze solid in early 2021. Upon completion of remaining tasks this summer, ANTHC will turn over the new lagoon to the to the community and provide technical support and training to the local sanitation system operators.