WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) – In September, we told you about a new water treatment plant outside Black Rock that would soon start pumping fresh water to five communities in Lawrence County.
It is a fascinating building from the pumps that bring water in from the Spring river through the process that turns it into drinking water.
The cities and areas that will benefit will no longer have to deal with lowering water tables and poor quality useable water.
Governor Mike Beebe says the water tables are rapidly being depleted in Arkansas but water is one of the real necessities to attract industry and for life. "Whether you live in Little Rock or Black Rock were all entitled to those basic necessities of life that make Arkansas the place that she is."
Matt Dunn designed and supervised construction of the plant.
Dunn, "This plant is designed to take water from the Spring River and we can treat up to 3 million gallons per day and pump water to the towns of Walnut Ridge, Hoxie, Portia, Sedgewick and Alicia and the Lawrence County Regional Water District."
This plant has been in planning since 1997 and today was dedicated to a very surprised A.J. Henry Jr. who was a driving force in getting it built.
Henry, "I knew my name was supposed to be on it but I didn't know that was supposed to be in that manner now." Henry's name appears on the building side and on a plaque that will hang on the building.
The plant went on line in November and just Friday added a new entity.
Joseph Jansen the plant manager said they have been steadily getting clients on line since about the 21st and even today.
Jansen, "Lawrence County Regional Water District. We have a pumping station for them and they went on line about 9 O'clock this morning."
The plant can process about 3 million gallons a day but is only doing about a million now that's until more clients are added.
I asked Jansen if he has heard anything about the water quality so far.
Jansen, "We haven't heard anything official but most of the towns, everybody's had really good feedback."
Walnut Ridge was the first town to come on line, Mayor Don House said it took about three days to flush the lines before people began to notice the difference.
House, "People brag about how much better their tea tastes and looks and how much more suds they have when they are washing their hair you know or in the washing machine." House said the water is very soft and he thinks Walnut Ridge now has, "The best water in Northeast Arkansas."
I sampled a glassful up in the lab. It was pretty tasty and very cold.
Governor Beebe said this plant is a great example of how a region can really pull together to accomplish a lifetime goal.
"I know for years to come, this will be a major asset for everyone to enjoy."