Summit Consulting Services is one of three teams designing and pilot testing an in-home water and sanitation system that recycles water for use in the home. The State of Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation initiated the project to spur the development of innovative and cost effective water and sanitation systems for homes in remote Alaska villages. The Challenge focuses on decentralized water and waste water treatment, recycling and water minimization. The system is being built and tested in Tok, Alaska over the next year.

Summit's Proposed System

Summit's proposed system fits within the existing house footprint and uses parts that can be configured to fit within a variety of housing types. The system is running water and sanitation system inside the home with easy hook-ups to fill water and haul waste water. The system contains a purifier to provide clean drinking water.  The system reduces the amount of water hauled by cleaning and recycling water for uses such as laundry, hand washing, and showering.  The system is being tested with two toilet configurations - a low flush toilet and a urine-diverting toilet.

What is the Alaska Water + Sewer Challenge?

Eighteen teams began the Challenge and the State of Alaska invited six to propose a design. The State of Alaska is funding three teams to build and test a pilot system.
The goal is to significantly reduce the capital and operating cost of in‐home running water and sanitation in rural Alaska, so every home can have service.The State set the following criteria for the system:
  • Provide clean healthy running water in the home.
  • Cost no more than $135/month to operate,
    including cost of the water and disposal.
  • Cost less than $160,000 per house
    to install.
  • Allow for 60 gallons of water to
    move through the house, while minimizing water that needs to be hauled.
  • Be easy to operate.

Timeline

Starting in July, teams are testing the systems for nine months under various scenarios typical in rural Alaska. End users are providing feedback and guidance throughout the testing phase. Representatives from Kivalina and Kongiganak are traveling to Tok to view Summit’s pilot system and Summit’s team will travel to both communities to share the system’s progress and invite further feedback. Systems that prove to be viable from a technical and end user perspective will advance to Phase 4 “Field Testing” in a village setting.

Recent Updates

Testing

Progress Report 9: Wash day & efficiency stress tests

May 12, 2017 – This month, we completed two stress tests and started a third. We removed the chlorine generators on April 19 and have been manually dosing with chlorine on a daily basis.
Read more.
End User Input

Visit to Kivalina

May 3, 2017 - In April, Summit team members Eric Cramer, Heather Stewart, Michael Gerace, and Jen Marlow spent time in Kivalina to share an update about our work on the Alaska Water and Sewer Challenge.
Read more.
Testing

Progress Report 8: Wash Vacation and Wash Surge Day Test

April 13, 2017 - This month we added a vacuum to the buffer/skimmer tank to further remove foam and conducted a "wash vacation" and "wash day surge" test. The first test simulates when a resident might leave the home for a week and the wash water treatment system would not be in use. The second tests simulates when a resident might do all their laundry on the same day, rather than spreading it throughout the week.
Read more.
Testing

Progress Report 7: The Freeze Test

April 13, 2017 - This month we conducted a freeze prevention test and and freeze/thaw recovery test. Both were successful. We are also working to combine the skimmer and buffer/biological tank into one vessel.
Read more.
Testing

Wash Water Treatment in Five Steps

March 9, 2017 - Our wash water treatment system is close to finalized. We share the five steps used to clean up and treat wash water for reuse that is being tested now.
Read more.
Testing

Progress Report 6

February 28, 2017 - Operations since January 10 status report have continued with the final configuration equipment. Results for microbiological testing indicate the water in the hygiene/wash water tank was clean. The sample from the kitchen sink contained 3.1 MPN/100mL. The potable water remained free of microbiological growth.
Read more.
End User Input

Learning from Wind Technology in Kongiganak

February 28, 2017 - Kongiganak is a leader in using wind power as an alternative to diesel to heat homes.
Read more.
End User Input

Visit to Kongiganak

February 16, 2017 - On January 17th and 18th, Summit team members Dave Cramer, Heather Gross, Thea Agnew Bemben, Meghan Holtan and Michael Gerace traveled to Kongiganak, Alaska for a community site visit. In route, we stopped by the Yukon Kuskokwim Greywater Lab in Bethel to get a tour of their facility and talk with Brian Lefferts and his team.
Read more.
Testing

Progress Report 4

December 15, 2016 - This month, we installed a third version of an microbiological reactor called the UltraGTS, which is in use in Australia.
Read more.
Testing

Progress Report 3

December 15, 2016 - This month, we switched back to using the AquaLoop MBR system in place of the Aqua2Use system for wash water treatment. We incorporated a soap skimmer similar to UAA and are modifying it to fit best within the home. The potable system, blackwater system, and distribution systems are still functioning well and with no changes.
Read more.
End User Input

End User Feedback from the WIHAH Conference

October 24, 2016 - The Water Innovations for Health Arctic Homes (WIHAH) provided ample opportunity for feedback from potential end users from villages, conference presenters and attendees. The following is a summary of feedback specific to Summit’s system from in-person interactions and the End User Session Summary Report compiled by Zender Environmental Health and Research.
Read more.
Testing

Progress Report 2

October 24, 2016 - Summit took samples from the synthetic wash water, treated wash water, and potable water on September 28th and sent them to the lab for testing. The wash water samples represent the output of the Aqua2Use system with disinfection by UV. Total coliform levels are still high in the wash water tank.
Read more.
End User Input

Home Owner Tasks

September 23, 2016 - Summit has updated the estimates for the water and waste water hauling and maintenance tasks for the homeowner after the system is installed.
Read more.
Testing

Costs

September 23, 2016 - Summit updated estimates for the system's capital and operational costs.
Read more.
Testing

Progress Report 1

September 23, 2016 - Every month for the next nine months, Summit will report on how the system is performing.
Read more.
End User Input

Tok Site Visit

September 22, 2016 - On August 9th through the 11th, members of the community from Kivalina and Kongiganak and Summit's team in Anchorage from Agnew::Beck Consulting and ReLocate visited the prototype system 40 miles south of Tok.
Read more.
Testing

Inside the Plumbing Wall

August 1, 2016 - The plumbing wall: where innovation meets practicality.
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End User Input

Kivalina Update

August 1, 2016 - Michael Gerace and Jen Marlow, of Re-Locate, are part of Summit’s Water and Sewer Challenge team. They are monitoring the success, and challenges, of urine diverting try toilets (UDDTs) as part of their ongoing work in Kivalina. UDDTs are also being tested as part of Summit’s prototype for the Alaska Water and Sewer Challenge.
Read more.
Testing

Updates from our Tok Testing Lab

June 20, 2016 - Photos of recent activity regarding setup of tanks and equipment in the lab and operation of the Aqualoop system and making of synthetic greywater.
Read more.
Testing

Summit Presents at the AWWMA Annual Conference

May 2, 2016 - Summit recently presented on water reuse during a full-day session on water reuse as part of the Alaska Water Wastewater Management Association's (AWWMA) annual conference.
Read more.
Testing

Visit to YKHC's Greywater Lab

May 2, 2016 - On our way to Hooper Bay, Agnew::Beck stopped by Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation's greywater lab to see their systems in action. Brian Lefferts gave us tour and explained what they were learning.
Read more.
End User Input

Water and Sewer in Hooper Bay

May 2, 2016 - Agnew::Beck recently visited Hooper Bay to facilitate a meeting on strengthening families. At the request of our community host, we added a short discussion of the Alaska Water and Sewer Challenge to the end of the meeting because of the overlap between the two topics. Some children are struggling in school because of the distraction of skin conditions that could be prevented by more water for washing. We also heard that around 30 percent of the visits to the clinic are related to lack of running water. Around a quarter of households in Hooper Bay have piped water and sewer, though more will be added in the coming years. People in the community see in-home decentralized systems as interim infrastructure, or for households that will be difficult to connect to the community system.
Read more.
Testing

Water Storage Tanks Survive Complete Freeze "Pre Test"

February 18, 2016 - Check out this pressure test of the Camel Tanks. The tank was frozen and thawed out and then subjected to a "pressure test." No bubbles = no leaks.
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End User Input

Kongiganak Phase III Kick-Off Meeting

February 11, 2016 - We had a productive meeting with the tribal council administrator, tribal council president and accountant from Kongiganak yesterday. They were in Anchorage for a training, and stopped by Agnew::Beck's office so we could talk about the status of the system and the Challenge.
Read more.
End User Input

How has end user feedback been incorporated in the system so far?

February 2, 2016 - The State offers technical criteria related to costs, water usage and public health benefits that influence the proposed system design. End-user input provided additional criteria to help us design a system that meets local water use practices and desires. The following explains how we incorporated end-user input at the system design and component level.
Read more.
Testing

Building the Pilot Test "Lab"

February 2, 2016 - Summit Consulting is constructing a building that will house the prototype system so that the pilot testing will be able to mimic the conditions in rural Alaska. The building is located behind Summit's shop in Tok, Alaska.
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End User Input

Phase II End User Input Summary

January 12, 2016 - When the State of Alaska released the list of potential community partners, we requested to work with two communities that we had a history of working together with on water and sewer infrastructure projects. Summit Consulting Services has worked with Kongiganak over the past decade and has planned, designed, and built water source improvements, a wastewater lagoon, a water treatment plant, and a water storage tank. BOKU, Re-Locate, and the Climate Foundation have spent a significant portion of the past three years living in Kivalina and researching the context underlying how water and waste move through the village. While our work in rural Alaska on water and sanitation projects is ongoing, we wanted to ensure end user input into the proposal specific to the Water and Sewer Challenge. As part of the Challenge, we met with partner community representatives, conducted a site visit which included an open house, interviews, tours and observation of use, and conducted a follow-up modify and vetting meeting.
Read more.

Our Team

Our Alaska Water and Sewer Challenge team offers qualifications in three key areas:

  1. Practical experience designing and building sanitation systems in rural Alaska communities; 
  2. Engaging rural community members in design thinking and coming up with practical solutions to a variety of infrastructure and community planning issues; and, 
  3. Developing innovative, community-appropriate solutions to sanitation issues across the globe.

Summit Consulting

Summit Consulting Services, Inc. opened its doors at the original office location near Tok, Alaska in 1995, specializing in construction management services on force account rural Alaska public construction projects, primarily for the State of Alaska Village Safe Water (VSW) Program. Since then, Summit has expanded to offer a full range of planning, design, and construction management services, opening our Fairbanks office in 1997 and the Anchorage office in 1998. 

Visit the Summit Consulting Website.

Agnew::Beck Consulting

AGNEW::BECK is a multidisciplinary consulting firm based in Anchorage, Alaska. We are skilled in analysis, policy development, planning, public engagement, and project implementation. Since 2002, we have helped our clients strategically respond to challenges and opportunities to achieve their goals. Our team is committed to effective and efficient project management. We work to build healthy communities locally, regionally and statewide.

“Engage, Plan, Implement” is our approach to helping people, places and organizations get beyond ideas and issues, and get into making things happen.

Visit the Agnew::Beck Website.

Re-Locate

Re-Locate is a collective of immersive ethnographic artists and transdisciplinary collaborators co-creating projects, platforms, and relationships with Kivalina friends and partners that support Kivalina’s long-standing plans for village relocation and expansion. Re-Locate projects make the economic, political, and environmental issues underlying relocation visible to global audiences; support community discussion and exchange; locate, connect, and educate new relocation partners; create spaces where people from displaced communities can share original media and ideas about local ways of life; develop platforms for managing local to global networks of support; host collaborative design processes that synthesize project knowledge into culturally specific planning and architecture; contribute to global efforts that are shaping the discourse on climate displacement; and develop practices for working in partnership with climate-displaced communities worldwide. 

Visit the Re-Locate Website.

The Climate Foundation

The Climate Foundation is dedicated to educating and empowering people to halt global warming in our lifetime.

Visit the Climate Foundation Website.

BOKU - University of Natural Resources and Life Science, Vienna

The University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, is an education and research centre for renewable resources. With its wide range of areas of expertise, BOKU's goal is to contribute significantly to the protection of precious renewable resources for future generations. With a connection between natural sciences, engineering and economics, BOKU aims to deepen knowledge about using natural resources ecologically, economically and sustainably.

Visit the BOKU Website.