Coast Guard Cutter Hickory crewmembers offload pallets of water destined for the residents in Angoon, Alaska, Feb. 14, 2021. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Coast Guard Cutter Hickory crewmembers offload pallets of water destined for the residents in Angoon, Alaska, Feb. 14, 2021. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Tlingit and Haida, Coast Guard work together to help Angoon

Mechanical failures and cold threatened the water supply.

Days and days of killing cold and mechanical failures brought the city of Angoon’s water supply perilously low.

But a combined effort between the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska’s Tribal Emergency Operations Center and the Coast Guard delivered water Sunday evening, easing demand on the supply while repairs were effected.

“We had a big main line break on the third. We lost a lot of our treated water supply from our tanks. They got it repaired, but it was followed by a week of freezing cold, which led to a lot of residential breaks,” said Angoon mayor Joshua Bowen in a phone interview. “We got all of these leaks stopped. But over this weekend, one of our tank transfer pumps stopped doing its job. It ended up freezing and cracking that pump.”

This threatened the supply of potable water to the community of around 400, said Jason Wilson of the Tlingit and Haida’s emergency operations center.

Coast Guard Cutter Hickory crewmembers offload pallets of water meant for the residents in Angoon, Alaska, Feb. 14, 2021. Four pallets of water were recently shipped to Angoon. The community’s water supply was threatened because of cold and mechanical failures. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Coast Guard Cutter Hickory crewmembers offload pallets of water meant for the residents in Angoon, Alaska, Feb. 14, 2021. Four pallets of water were recently shipped to Angoon. The community’s water supply was threatened because of cold and mechanical failures. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

“President Peterson was notified, and gave me a call, and said ‘let’s look into this,’” Wilson said in a phone interview. “We decided at the TEOC to kick it into gear. We just feel it was important to get water over there.”

Coordinating with the Coast Guard, the emergency operations center purchased four pallets of water, or nearly 7,000 bottles of water, and shipped them aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Hickory, a buoy tender homeported in Homer, said the Coast Guard in a news release.

“We were notified on Saturday afternoon. I talked to the mayor about 2-3 p.m. We got water loaded up on the Coast Guard vessel by about 8 that evening. They left immediately. They arrived at Angoon about 9 p.m. And by 11.30 p.m., all the community members had water,” Wilson said. “I think in emergency management, the more connections you have people, not just in our community but all over the place, assist with response time. We love to brag our Coast Guard because they just jumped, didn’t think about it.”

Gunalchéesh, Háw’aa to the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and South Tongasss Volunteer Fire Department for helping Tlingit &…Posted by Tlingit & Haida on Monday, 15 February 2021

This latest event highlights the need for the Tribal Emergency Operations Center in Southeast Alaska and the work partnerships can accomplish, Wilson said

“We were real fortunate in communicating with the Coast Guard,” Wilson said.

Wilson said the Coast Guard had even discussed using their MH-60 helicopters to transport the water if the need was urgent enough.

The town is out of immediate trouble, Bowen said. With the water delivered, Angoon bought enough time to make enough repairs. Now, they’re supplying the town off one water tank while updating Angoon’s infrastructure. The emergency operations center is keeping an eye on the situation, Wilson said.

“We’re still monitoring the event. I believe they’re waiting for a pump. But if that doesn’t happen, there might be more that we need to do,” Wilson said. “The community was looking at not being able to receive a ferry for 10 days. We’re monitoring the situation. The Coast Guard is also on standby for us. They say, ‘Hey, if you need more help, we’re there for it.’”

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

More in News

The Aurora Borealis glows over the Mendenhall Glacier in 2014. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Aurora Forecast

Forecasts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute for the week of Feb. 5

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
Edward Richards, left, a high school student in the Sitka School District, talks about the lack of mental health services in Alaska’s public schools as part of the testimony also offered by district Superintendent Frank Hauser, center, and student Felix Myers during a Senate Education Meeting on Monday at the Alaska State Capitol. The committee is proposing a 17% increase in the state’s school funding formula, which was remained essentially flat since 2017.
School’s in at the Capitol

Students and education leaders from around state make case for more classroom cash.

Folks at the Alaska State Capitol openly admit to plenty of fish tales, but to a large degree in ways intended to benefit residents and sometimes even the fish. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
The bizarre bills other state legislatures are considering

Alaska’s Legislature isn’t mulling the headline-grabbers some statehouses have in the works.

This photo shows snow-covered hills in the Porcupine River Tundra in the Yukon Territories, Canada. In July 1997, a hunter contacted troopers in Fairbanks, Alaska, and reported finding a human skull along the Porcupine River, around 8 miles (13 kilometers) from the Canadian border. Investigators used genetic genealogy to help identify the remains as those of Gary Frank Sotherden, according to a statement Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, from Alaska State Troopers. (AP Photo / Rick Bowmer)
Skull found in ‘97 in Interior belongs to New York man

A skull found in a remote part of Alaska’s Interior in 1997… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Officer William Hicks stands with JPD Chief Ed Mercer and Deputy Chief David Campbell during a swearing in ceremony for Hicks on Thursday at the JPD station in Lemon Creek. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)
New officer joins JPD’s ranks

The Juneau Police Department welcomed a new officer to its ranks Thursday… Continue reading

These photos show Nova, a 3-year-old golden retriever, and the illegally placed body hold trap, commonly referred to as a Conibear trap, that caught her while walking near Outer Point Trail last week. (Courtesy / Jessica Davis)
Dog narrowly survives rare illegally placed trap in Juneau

State wildlife officials outlined what to do if found in similar situation

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Public defender agency to refuse some cases, citing staffing

ANCHORAGE — A state agency that represents Alaskans who cannot afford their… Continue reading

Most Read