IGAP stands for Indian General Assistance
Program. This is an EPA grant to help tribes develop capacity to administer
programs. The grant program was mandated by the Clinton administration
in the mid 1990’s. It has been awarded to tribes across the lower
48 and Alaska. The Anvik Tribal Council has been administering an IGAP program
since 2003. Beyond developing administrative capacity, the IGAP grant’s
main focus is solid waste management and hazardous waste management,
but many other environmental issues can be addressed under this program.
of the environmental issues that the Anvik Tribal Council has addressed
with the IGAP program are:
Solid Waste Management
Some people think that that "solid waste" is
the solid part of human waste that enter sewage systems, but actually the
represents a variety of material wastes that usually end up in the solid
waste landfill (dump). The waste stream entering the landfill comes mainly
Residential or household
wastes. This is the trash
we generate in our homes. It generally consists of food scraps and trimmings,
paper, glass, cardboard, plastics, metals, and wood. The main sources of
these wastes are from containers and packaging, but can also include old
furniture, clothing, disposable diapers, shopping bags, vehicles and equipment,
household appliances, cleaning products, old tires, grass cuttings and brush,
and a wide variety of other materials. Some household wastes can also be
classified as hazardous.
wastes. These are wastes generated
by businesses and institutions such as the local businesses, city and tribal
offices, post office, school, washeteria, clinic, etc. The majorities of
these wastes are paper and cardboard, but also can contain items like printer
and fax machine ink cartridges, fluorescent light tubes, and old office equipment,
some of which can also be classified as hazardous waste.
Construction/Demolition wastes. As the name implies,
these are wastes generated during construction, demolition and renovation
projects. These wastes can range from gypsum board (sheet rock), concrete,
fiberglass, old carpeting and vinyl flooring, plywood and wood scraps, sheet
metal and other metals like screws and nails, asphalt shingles and tar paper,
adhesives, paint, solvents, lubricants, broken tools and equipment and a
variety of other materials. Some of these wastes can also be classified as
To improve our solid waste management strategies, the Anvik Tribal Council developed an Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan (ISWMP). This plan not only addresses the three categories of waste mentioned above, but also hazardous waste, recycling, dead animal disposal, bird/animal attraction to the landfill, windblown debris, burning of waste, cover and fill material for the landfill, landfill operating procedures, useful life expectancy of the existing landfill, locating a new landfill site, and closure of the existing site.
Since the City of Anvik leases the
landfill site from Deloy Ges, and is responsible for general operations,
the Tribe and City entered
into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to cooperatively pursue funding for
solid waste management. With this arrangement we were able to obtain funding
the Denali Commission in 2005 for solid waste improvements. With these
funds we purchased a Burnbox and constructed a new fence around the landfill.
improvements have helped to reduce the volume of waste entering the landfill,
mitigate bird/animal attraction, and reduce windblown debris around the
landfill site. Although we have realized improvements in solid waste management
last few years, there is still room for improvement. The most effective
strategy for this is educating the public through encouraging the philosophy
of "Reduce, Re-use, and Recycle",
discouraging the practice of open burning, and proper disposal of household
Hazardous Waste Management
Another element of the IGAP workplan is hazardous waste management. The ATC Environmental Department is taking a twofold approach to address this issue. A contaminated sites strategy, and hazardous waste disposal and storage. In the original workplan, the main focus of this element was to identify contaminated sites and develop a strategy for clean-up of these sites. Since clean-up of contaminated sites is a complicated and costly process, the Anvik Tribal Council has pursued EPA Brownfields funding through the Brownfields Tribal Response Program (BTRP). The BTRP is also a capacity building grant intended to help tribes develop the expertise and resources necessary to identify, assess and clean-up contaminated sites with the ultimate goal of redevelopment and/or re-use of property that is abandoned or underutilized due to real or perceived contamination. In addition to being complicated and costly, the process of addressing these contaminated sites is very time consuming and lengthy, often taking several years from identification and inventory of a site, to actual clean-up and redevelopment. More information on the BTRP can be found under the Brownfields tab on the top of this website.
The second approach to hazardous waste
management is storage and disposal of these wastes. Not only are hazardous
wastes a health and
environmental concern, there are also financial, legal, and regulatory implications
that must be considered. Some hazardous wastes such as household cleaning
products, used motor oil and anti-freeze, and old automotive batteries are
relatively easy to deal with. Other materials that are more hazardous, such
as pesticides and herbicides, some petroleum products, medical wastes, radioactive
materials, and other chemical compounds are much more complicated and costly
to dispose of properly. Through the IGAP grant a connex container was purchased
for storage of household hazardous wastes. This container will be set up
in an appropriate area with instructions for proper containment and storage
of these materials. This will help keep hazardous materials out of the landfill,
and stage them for future backhaul shipment out of the village. A used oil
burning boiler was also purchased with IGAP funds, and will be used to heat
the new Tribal Community Building. This will properly dispose of used oil
from the AVEC generators, the Anvik Airport upgrade project, used oil from
the city’s heavy equipment, and used oil from private vehicles. In
addition to proper disposal of used oil, this will save the tribe a substantial
amount of money in heating costs. Hazardous waste is a complex issue, but
we are continuing to improve our hazardous waste strategies.
Most large scale and industrial recycling occurs in the lower 48 states, and includes scrap metals, concrete, asphalt and other construction and manufacturing materials. The most common small scale and consumer goods recycling materials are aluminum, paper and cardboard, plastic, glass, batteries, and electronic goods. In rural Alaska it is not feasible or cost effective to recycle many of these materials. The existing infrastructure and transportation in rural Alaska does not yet support recycling of paper/cardboard, plastic, and glass products. This is where the philosophy of reduce and re-use comes into play. We can reduce the volume of these materials entering the landfill and impacting the environmental by simply reducing and/or re-using these types of materials. The materials that we can recycle practically include: aluminum, electronic products, automotive batteries, and junk vehicles. We are currently working with the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council (YRITWC) Backhaul Program to remove junk vehicles, batteries, white goods (appliances like refrigerators, freezers, stoves, etc.), and e-goods (computers, monitors, TVs, fax machines, etc.). We have been shipping out aluminum cans through the ALPAR Flying Cans program, but are looking at shipping aluminum cans and old boats with the YRITWC.
Youth Environmental Tribal Interns
In the summers of 2006 and 2007 the
Anvik Tribal Council employed local Youth Environmental Tribal Interns
(locally known as YETI’s).
The YETIs have been instrumental in implementing several of the environmental
programs during the summer. In addition to working on these programs, the
youth are gaining knowledge of environmental issues, and spreading that knowledge
to others. More Information about the YETI Program is available through links
on the IGAP page of this website.
Water Quality Monitoring
Water is one of the most vital resources to life. We are fortunate to have high quality water resources in rural Alaska, but these resources are being impacted by global climate change that is causing increased glacial and permafrost melt, other natural events like forest fires and floods, and human impacts like mining, agriculture, manufacturing, sewage and solid waste disposal, and the extensive use of fossil fuels.
Water Quality Monitoring programs provide baseline data for water resources, and can monitor and track changes occurring to the resource. Since 2006 the Anvik Tribal Council Environmental Program has been working with the YRITWC Water Quality Monitoring Program. This program is a continuation of a United States Geological Survey (USGS) 5 year study of the chemistry of the Yukon River. In addition to studying and monitoring the chemistry of the river, the YRITWC program is also looking at identifying and quantifying point source and non-point source pollutants affecting the river and resources that rely on it. Point source pollutants are contamination that occurs at a specific and identifiable location. Some examples of point source pollution are sewage outfalls, landfills, oil spills and mining discharges. Examples of non-point source pollution are fossil fuel exhaust and leaks from vehicles, fertilizer and pesticide runoff from agricultural areas and urban lawns and gardens, and industrial fallout from the atmosphere. In addition to collaborating with YRITWC on the Yukon River project, the IGAP program is designing a Water Quality Monitoring Program for the Anvik River, Bonasilla River, and other traditional water resources like lakes, streams and springs in the area.
With the skyrocketing costs and environmental hazards associated with fossil fuels such as petroleum, natural gas, and coal, and the inherent risks associated with nuclear power, alternative/renewable energy is becoming very popular worldwide. Alternative or renewable energy is defined as power generation that comes from non-fossil fuel and non-nuclear resources. The most common forms of alternative/renewable energy are solar, wind, geothermal, and hydroelectric. The Anvik Tribal Council Environmental Program is currently researching alternative/renewable energy options that may be feasible for this area. While alternative/renewable energy has definite environmental advantages and lower operating and maintenance costs, initial purchase and installation of these technologies is rather expensive, and takes a long term investment to recoup the initial cost in savings. We are pursuing funding sources to perform feasibility studies on the various forms of alternative/renewable that would be practical here.