Despite the long string of hot days bearing down on Anchorage this summer, Alaska’s largest city is flush with pristine, bountiful water thanks to the nearby Eklutna Lake. The quality and abundance of the water that flows to Alaska’s largest city is as unique as 49th state itself.
Water from 3,420-acre Eklutna Lake is “superb,” said Eklutna Water Treatment Plant superintendent Brian Yonkoske on Tuesday. The massive, 870-foot deep lake is fed by rain runoff and the neighboring Eklutna Glacier, which supplies the lake with water that has been frozen thousands of years.
At the Eklutna plant, the water is treated with poly-aluminum chloride -- 10 gallons of the chemical for every 1 million gallons of water - and filtered through gravel, sand and anthracite, which transform the cloudy liquid into crystal-clear water. Chlorine and fluoride are added, and the water is pumped out to the Anchorage Bowl via an underground pipe.
Anchorage’s water use is “just a drop in the bucket,” from the lake, Yonkoske said. Three electrical companies, Anchorage Municipal Light and Power, Chugach Electric Association, and Matanuska Electric Association are the actual owners of the water rights to the lake, and the Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility actually buys the water from them (May’s bill was $62,000.) Those companies draw more than 250 million gallons per day from Eklutna to create electrical power for Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Valley.