Other States:
ALASKA
Population: 626,932

Information on the state of Alaska is available for the following topics. To review this information, click on the links below.

Contacts| Regulations, Statutes & State Codes | Quick Facts | Septic Stats

Onsite Demonstration Programs | Onsite Management Communities

 

 

Contacts:
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Mr. David Johnson, P.E., Program Coordinator
Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation
Domestic Wastewater Program
43335 K-Beach Road, Suite 11
Soldonta, Alaska 99669
(907) 262-5210 Ext.238
(907) 262-2294 (fax)
djohnson@envircon.state.ak.us

or:

Dr. James Weise, Program Manager
Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation
Division of Water & Wastewater Programs
555 Cordova Street
Anchorage, Alaska 99501
(907) 267-7647
(907) 269-7655 (fax)
jweise@envircon.state.ak.us

http://www.state.ak.us/local/akpages/ENV.CONSERV/home.htm

 

Regulations, Statutes & State Codes:
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Alaska State Regulations

Alaska Constitutions, Statutes and Codes

Wastewater Treatment and Disposal Regulations
18 AAC 72
January 17, 2002

Alaska regulations are currently under revision and include only minor regulatory changes to become effective in mid January 2002. The main focus of regulation change concerns user fees for plan review work and changing from a one-time permit fee for wastewater discharges to an annual fee.

Alaska allows the use of chambered systems (including gravelless pipe) for use in conventional onsite systems without going through plan review. Other technologies must be approved on a case-by-case, site-specific basis. In most cases, engineered plans are required.

Surface discharge is an option for onsite systems in Alaska, but requires site-specific engineered plans that confirm that the wastewater treatment system is capable of producing effluent meeting secondary treatment standards. Disinfection is required in most cases, and the discharge must operate under a state permit. Although State permits are required for surface discharge, the state may allow a plan approval in lieu of a permit under certain conditions. Alaska does not directly implement the NPDES program.

Alaska Code allows for drainfield area/size reductions based on treatment effectiveness and effluent quality. Those technologies considered for drainfield reduction include those treatment systems that consistently produce effluent of sufficient quality that reduces the potential for bio-mat formation.

There are no funding programs or mechanisms available in Alaska to assist homeowners replacing failing or installing new systems. At present, there are no plans to develop such a mechanism within the next year.

Onsite wastewater demonstration, research, and/or testing projects are ongoing in the state. Those interested in additional information may contact Jim Cross, P.E., Municipality of Anchorage, at (907) 343-7906.

Pertinent to management programs/contracts, state regulations require aerobic treatment package plants to be listed by NSF. Per NSF listing requirements, maintenance must be provided for the first two (2) years of operation. There is no specific requirement beyond the initial two-year period unless the discharge requires a permit.

Local governments may apply for authority to regulate wastewater systems but not discharge permits. That authority can be delegated, provided local regulations are at least as strict as State regulations. Currently in Alaska, two municipalities, Anchorage and Valdez, implement local wastewater regulations. The State of Alaska is responsible for all other areas.

The number of permits issued per year is tracked for new construction as well as for repair or replacement of existing systems. These records are maintained at the state level.

In Alaska, treatment failure occurs when the system fails to produce the effluent quality required, but there is ongoing debate over what an absorption system failure is. The most universally accepted definition is surfacing effluent. The most common reasons for system failure are poor installation/construction, lack of proper maintenance, poor quality materials (e.g., dirty distribution rock), septic tank failures (because of logistical difficulties, steel septic tanks are allowed), and system overloading (increase in wastewater flow without upgrading the onsite system).

Alaska requires that installers be certified (requires class attendance, passing an examination, and paying an annual certification fee of $325) by the state in order to install systems without prior plan approval. This program is limited to conventional onsite systems serving a single family, duplex residences, and small commercial facilities (500 gpd or less). All others must go through plan approval prior to construction. In most cases, when plans are required, they must bear the seal and signature of a registered engineer.

In lieu of certification above, the same type of systems may be installed without prior plan approval if the installation is inspected by a registered engineer. Homeowners may install their own systems serving a single-family or owner occupied duplex if they complete a computer based training class. The training CD-ROM is available from the state and is free; however, to be approved to actually install the system, they must pay a $65 fee. When percolation tests are required, they must be performed with the oversight of a registered engineer.

The State does not currently have a certification program for site evaluations/inspections. Typically, registered engineers are used.

Information pertinent to municipal wastewater regulations may be obtained from Weise or Johnson (above).


Quick Facts:
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Total number of onsite systems: 30-40% of households; further details NA.
Number of new systems installed each year: 1200-1500 estimated.
Failure definition: Improper disposal; sewage on the ground; lending institutions may require
an “adequacy test” as well.
Number or proportion of systems presently failing: NA.
Number or proportion repaired annually: NA.
Number or proportion replaced annually: Approximately 3000.
Number or proportion of repairs or replacements that require alternative technology (e.g.,
sand filters, pressure dosing):
Actual numbers NA; varies widely across the state, but
alternatives are estimated to account for 15-20% of systems.
Number or proportion of repairs or replacements that require advanced technology (e.g.,
disinfection, nutrient removal):
About 5%.

Cost of a conventional septic system installation: $3000-$4000 estimated for accessible areas, otherwise
higher.
Cost of a centralized sewer tie-in (including fees and cost of the sewer lateral): $10,000, but
varies widely because of weather and accessibility considerations.

Septic Stats:
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TOTAL PERSONS TOTAL HOUSING UNITS PUBLIC SYSTEM DRILLED WELL DUG WELL OTHER PUBLIC SEWER SEPTIC TANK OTHER MEANS
ALASKA 550,043 232,608 152,550 52,697 3,419 23,942 144,905 59,886 27,817
COUNTIES
ALEUTIANS EAST 2,464 693 605 30 12 46 543 100 50
ALEUTIANS WEST 9,478 2,051 1,976 0 2 73 1,885 84 82
ANCHORAGE 226,338 94,153 80,990 12,351 468 344 82,321 11,468 364
BETHEL 13,656 4,362 2,007 371 66 1,918 896 760 2,706
BRISTOL BAY 1,410 596 84 430 6 76 199 335 62
DENALI (Data presently unavailable)
DILLINGHAM 4,012 1,691 886 506 25 274 807 479 405
FAIRBANKS NORTH STAR 77,720 31,823 19,131 9,647 918 2,127 17,885 11,845 2,093
HAINES 2,117 1,112 575 133 54 350 503 335 274
JUNEAU 26,751 10,638 8,377 1,424 65 772 8,583 1,570 485
KENAI PENINSULA 40,802 19,364 6,732 9,064 658 2,910 6,253 10,159 2,952
KETCHIKAN GATEWAY 13,828 5,463 3,730 65 103 1,565 3,612 1,421 430
KODIAK ISLAND 13,309 4,885 3,877 413 83 512 3,814 565 506
LAKE AND PENINSULA 1,668 991 370 214 54 353 260 371 360
MANTANUSKA-SUSITNA 39,683 20,953 2,841 14,124 441 3,547 2,158 14,681 4,114
NOME 8,288 3,684 2,207 30 26 1,421 1,528 201 1,955
NORTH SLOPE 5,979 2,153 1,777 0 0 376 588 70 1,495
NORTHWEST ARCTIC 6,113 1,998 1,344 3 10 641 1,033 24 941
PRINCE OF WALWS-OUTER KETCHIKAN 6,278 2,543 1,914 24 49 556 1,805 254 484
SITKA 8,588 3,222 3,050 0 8 164 2,884 178 160
SKAGWAY-HOONAH-ANGOON 4,385 2,102 1,238 290 12 562 1,131 326 645
SOUTH FAIRBANKS 5,913 3,149 778 1,534 104 733 563 1,418 1,168
VALDEZ-CORDOVA 9,952 5,196 2,960 993 115 1,128 2,435 1,387 1,374
WADE HAMPTON 5,791 1,882 1,042 15 0 825 608 46 1,228
WRANGELL-PETERSBURG 7,042 3,005 2,141 165 44 655 1,975 513 517
YAKUTAT (Data presently unavailable)
YUKON-KOYUKUK 8,478 4,899 1,918 871 96 2,014 636 1,296 2,967

 

Onsite Demonstration Programs:
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• Demonstration sites exist for intermittent sand filters, peat filters, and trickling filter systems.
On-Site Training and Education
• State runs a certified installer program through the University of Alaska which allows
installation of only small-scale, conventional systems. Other systems must be designed and
installed under oversight of registered engineers
.

 

Onsite Management Communities:
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No information available on OMC in Alaska.