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Services & Products : Flush Tank and Haul System : Frequently Asked Questions

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  • What is the Flush Tank and Haul System?  CLICK!

    The Flush Tank and Haulsystem (FTH) is a small vehicle water and sewage haul system which provides running water and flush toilets in homes in rural Alaskan villages. It eliminates the honeybucket from the home.
  • How does it work?

    The FTH system uses ATVs, snowmachines or small tractors to pull water and sewage tanks mounted on trailers or sleds. Water is hauled from the community watering point to the home where it is stored in a fresh water holding tank and piped around the house. Sewage is collected outside in a sewage holding tank and then hauled away to a dumpsite by the sewage haul tank.

  • Who is the FTH system designed for?

    It is meant to be used in small, remote, northern communities where the climate is harsh and where local conditions such as permafrost, limited water supply, limited skills and limited financial capacity make piped system impossible or too expensive to build and operate. The FTH system provides a low-cost, sustainable solution.
  • Which communities use the system? 

    Over 800 FTH systems have been installed in Alaska in some twelve villages. Most of them are in the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta where the system was developed, but some are in interior villages (Venetie, Koyukuk and Allakaket).
  • Who owns the Flush Tank and Haul system?

    The FTH system was developed by Cowater here in Alaska and FTH technology is the property of Cowater. Cowater has patents, copyrights and trademarks on the technology.
  • Why not build a normal piped water and sewer system?

    Sanitation systems in Alaskan villages need to deal with three major constraints:
    1. Remote location where everything done is difficult and expensive.
    2. Climatic conditions such as permafrost and extremely low temperatures challenge our ability to build sustainable facilities.
    3. Low levels of technical skills. An ideal system is maintained by local people and therefore an ideal system is simple and easy to maintain.
    The Flush Tank and Haul system was developed to meet these three constraints.
  • Can I purchase individual components of the Flush Tank and Haul system? 

    Normally FTH systems are installed on a community-wide basis with numerous installations at one time as part of a project. Components may be purchased on an individual basis, however, Cowater will need to be satisfied that the products will be used correctly and provide value-added for the purchaser.
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  • What is the monthly cost to a homeowner with the FTH system? 

    Most communities with the FTH system operate the water and sewage haul service. They charge the homeowner for each water and sewage haul. This charge ranges from $18 to $25 per haul. The monthly cost to the homeowner will therefore depend on the amount of water used and number of water and sewage hauls made. Normally large families use more water than small families but it depends on water use habits in the household. Also, many homeowners self-haul their water so they only need to pay sewage hauling. Monthly costs therefore vary depending on family size, water-use habits and water self-haul. The average monthly cost is probably $60 to $80, however, some pay less and some pay more than this range.
  • How much water does the Flush Tank and Haul system use? 

    The amount of water used varies from home to home. It depends on the number of people in the home and the water-use habits of the particular family. Also, many families self-haul their water and many collect and use rainwater. We estimate that the average usage drawn from the public water supply is 2 gallons per person per day (gpd). We recommend that 3 gpd be used for design purposes.
  • Why do you say the FTH system is a green technology? 

    It is a green technology because it uses a minimum of resources to construct and also to operate:

    • It is simple, fast and easy to install. There are no pipes or tanks buried in the ground.
    • It requires very little water to operate but provides a high level of service - running water with flush toilet, bathtub/shower and kitchen hookup.
    • It is very energy efficient. It uses very little electricity to operate – no circulating water pumps or long runs of heat traces to keep pipes from freezing.



Haul Tanks
Bottom Bubbles
Cowater Alaska, Inc. • 2150 E. Dowling Road, Suite C, Anchorage, Alaska 99507 • Phone 888.622.5511 • Email
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