780 AM | 96.1 FM 

“YOURS FOR WESTERN ALASKA”

(907) 443-5221

Scott Kingeekuk Honored for ‘Keeping Toilets Flushing’

A photo of Scott Kingeekuk.
Scott Kingeekuk of Savoonga has been named Wastewater Operator of the Year for Alaska.

Scott Kingeekuk, the primary water plant operator in the village of Savoonga, has been named Alaska Rural Water Association’s Wastewater Operator of the Year.

Kingeekuk and his crew are responsible for servicing the village’s water plant, the sewage lagoon, and handling repairs for Savoonga’s 600 residents. There are approximately 150 serviced buildings, all of which require regular attention from the village’s four operators.

Kingeekuk credits his success to two factors: “Hard work and I attribute a lot of it to my crew, I have a good crew. I really couldn’t do a lot without my guys.”

Kingeekuk has been working as a wastewater operator since 2011, when the former Primary Operator needed a hand.

“I actually went to a motorcycle mechanic’s institute in Arizona. I grew up on small engine repairs my older brothers brought me up on. I’ve always had a mechanical background,” Kingeekuk said.

Although he lacked formal training, Kingeekuk learned on the job and was eventually promoted. He says having a steady full-time job in the remote island-community is not something he takes for granted.

“There’s a small economy in Savoonga. It’s either the school, the store, the city, or the tribe for any kind of work.”

A photo of an old set of whale bones on the beach in Savoonga with a plane flying overhead.
A plane flies above an old set of whale bones on the Savoonga beach.

Despite this, operating the water plant can be mentally and physically taxing.

“At some point I did burn out and want to quit. Partly because our rate of pay was pretty low. I started at $16 an hour. Just a couple years ago they were able to go back and take a look at the rate of pay with operators in Alaska, and they were able to bring our rate of pay substantially up.”

As Kingeekuk has described, rural water operators play vital roles in their respective villages. When Chris Cox, manager for ANTHC’s Utility Collaborative, came to present the award in person, he emphasized how important Kingeekuk and his crew are to their community.

“Operators here are great. Some of the best in the region. They keep the toilets flushing, they keep the water pressure good, and the guys here know what needs to be done,” Cox said.

Image at top: Scott Kingeekuk of Savoonga has been named Wastewater Operator of the Year for Alaska.

Share this story

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email

Recent Posts

MS Westerdam Passengers Recall Icy Approach to Nome

Holland America’s MS Westerdam has arrived in Nome. The cruise ship that holds over 1,900 passengers is anchored just off the coast of Nome, too big to dock in the port. Small tenders that hold about 80 passengers each are ferrying visitors to and from the shore throughout the day.

Read More »

First-Ever KNOM Radio Music Fest Draws a Crowd, Drives Donations

Selma Casagranda serenaded audience members with a few of her original songs. Casagranda is from Seward and one of four finalists from KNOM’s 2023 American Idol search. Audience members joined the King Island dance group for an invitational dance. One of KNOM’s 2023 American Idol search finalists, Martin Paul of

Read More »

June 20: Rick Thoman’s Climate Highlight for Western Alaska

The following is a transcript from Rick Thoman’s weekly “Climate Highlight for Western Alaska” provided to KNOM Radio. Thoman is a Climate Specialist with the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The largest wildfire on the Seward Peninsula since 2019, the Goldbug Fire,

Read More »

Westerdam: First Visitors Expected Around 8 a.m.

Holland America’s MS Westerdam cruise ship will anchor just outside of the Nome Harbor the morning of June 21, bringing with it a wave of tourists to Nome.  According to City of Nome Harbormaster Lucas Stotts, the ship’s passengers will first arrive by tender around 7:45 a.m. The last tender

Read More »

More

Newsletter:

Work for Us:

Jobs

Contact

Nome:

(907) 443-5221 

Anchorage:

(907) 868-1200 

Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that KNOM Radio Mission is located on the customary lands of Indigenous peoples. 

Based in the Bering Strait region, KNOM broadcasts throughout the homelands of the Iñupiaq, Siberian Yup’ik, Cup’ik and Yup’ik peoples.