Washeteria/Clinic Collapse

Quinhagak Health/Sanitation Building

Another crisis looming on the horizon for the residents of Kwinhagak is the imminent structural failure of the foundation system supporting the Quinhagak Health/Sanitation Building. This facility is a critical facility for Kwinhagak, housing the clinic, washeteria/laundromat, and various tribal programs. Constructed in 1999, the foundation system utilizes thermosyphons to ensure the ground underneath the concrete foundation system remains permanently frozen. However, some basic design assumptions may have been flawed, as they were based on old climate data and assumed colder summers than has been the average in recent years. Through a combination of poor drainage and warmer temperatures, the permafrost beneath the building has begun to degrade, resulting in settlement. One side of the concrete foundation perimeter has cracked and is migrating away from the main pad, bringing the southwest wall with it, and causing severe cracking throughout the building, and in particular in the clinic exam rooms.

At the same time, the community has completely outgrown its current clinic, which consists of only (3) exam rooms. Because of the size of the village, with more than 760 residents, and a significant influx of summer transients, the clinic should be twice its current size.

A detailed report outlining the foundation issues can be reviewed by opening the attachment below.

Anthony Caole,
Mar 28, 2010, 2:40 PM