"AKIACHAK, Alaska — Sanitation workers Thomas Noatak and Joseph Moses start every workday riding a four-wheeler along the muddy roads of this small Yup’ik village on southwestern Alaska’s vast Kuskokwim River, looking for human waste.
They’re checking honey bucket bins — large steel containers where residents dump their waste at neighborhood collection points. When they find a bin full enough to warrant a trip to the dump site just outside town, they load it up and haul it nearly a mile over deeply potholed and rutted streets, hoping to do it without splashing.
Many Alaska villages don’t have running water and flushing toilets. Instead of using a bathroom, people retire to a room in a house, pull a curtain and use a honey bucket — typically a 5-gallon bucket with a toilet seat on top and a plastic bag inside. Instead of showers, they rely on steam baths or sponge baths. Water for drinking and washing has to be hauled in."