This was my first public response to the West Fork sewer issue. Since this was published, I have worked with our engineering firm, our water and sewer department, local inspectors, and ADEQ in an effort to assure that we stay in compliance with ADEQ directives.
April 18, 2014
Waste Water Treatment Plant and Pipeline to Fayetteville Treatment Facilities
On April 11 I received a phone call from Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ). This phone call was a verbal issuance of an Emergency Order of the Director to cease all unpermitted discharges into the West Fork of the White River. Butch Bartholomew and Robert White, the engineer from McClelland Engineering, presented two solutions to ADEQ to solve the problem. One was to control the flow of discharge from the manhole at the treatment plant and to send that rain water and sewer discharge through the plant. The second was to increase the flow of waste water through the plant without compromising the complete treatment and without bypassing any treatment units. The first solution to divert the flow from the manhole was completed, in operation, and approved by an inspector from ADEQ on Tuesday. That stopped all untreated discharge into the White River. At this point we have complied with the Emergency Order to cease all discharge of untreated waste into the West Fork of the White River. I have asked that our city workers check the discharge area at the manhole throughout the day and about every three hours at night to make sure we stay in compliance with the order. They are doing that and reporting no problems with discharge. The second solution, to increase flow, was reviewed by ADEQ and was approved on Thursday, April 17. We began that operation immediately on approval. The second solution, to increase flow through the plant, should take care of the discharge from the manhole on a long-term basis until we reduce infiltration of rain water run-off and complete the sewer line project to the Fayetteville treatment facility.
I have the same concerns about this discharge as you do. This is a serious problem and the City of West Fork wants to be good stewards and responsible members of the Northwest Arkansas Watershed. West Fork is two years into the sewer line project to the Fayetteville facilities which is the final solution to our waste water treatment problem. This sewer line project and process not only includes the pipeline but also the evaluation and upgrading of the infrastructure in West Fork. Our city sewer system evaluation has been funded, and that process is underway. We have surveyed the pipeline to Fayetteville, we have been approved for much of our funding and will continue to cooperate with all of the agencies and contractors to expedite this process. If you find problems or have questions, bring them to me.
Charlie Rossetti, Mayor