Disaster declared after sewage lagoon breach in Hooper Bay

a leak in a snowy landscape
A leak in the Hooper Bay sewer lagoon caused it to spill out onto the surrounding land on Feb. 25, 2022. (Sandra Tall-Lake/City Of Hooper Bay)

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy has approved a disaster declaration for Hooper Bay, after the community’s sewer lagoon breached.

Hooper Bay Mayor Sandra Hill said the lagoon breached Friday night, prompting an emergency meeting of the city council. Hill told Anchorage TV station KTUU the lagoon is north of the community.

“It didn’t leak into our village directly, but the tundra surrounding it and I’m worried about food security because we have a slough just below where the lagoon is located where we fish,” Hill said. She said it was possible that permafrost beneath the lagoon melted, destabilizing it.

The mayor said residents of the western Alaska community began clearing slush and snow on the road leading to the lagoon to help allow for heavy equipment to reach the site for repairs.

The council declared a disaster, and its resolution was sent to the state’s emergency operations center, Hill said.

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