POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) - The Pocahontas City Council recently approved bond issues to update the sewage system and build a new water tower on the West side of town.
Chairman for the Pocahontas Water and Sewage Commission, John Jackson said the sewage lagoons were "new" in the mid 1970's and were in desperate need of an upgrade.
"Over the years the dams around the lagoons, the levees had gotten washed by wind and rain and it needed a total overhaul," Jackson said.
That overhaul is almost complete. So far, the levees surrounding the largest, 51-acre lagoon have been rebuilt with dirt from a nearby area. New rocks were also placed along the levee and a new chlorine system is being put in place. Jackson said they're almost finished with the maintenance work.
"What's left to do is put some curtains in the ponds. That sewage flows through the ponds and the curtains direct the flow of the waste water. The longer that it can flow, the better quality the outflow of those lagoons is" Jackson said. "Once we put in those curtains, the job will be complete."
Jackson said the money used to help maintain the sewage lagoons comes from a 25% rate increase that took effect in October of 2011. He said the lagoons were in desperate need of repair. Jackson explained what could have happened if they'd waited to upgrade the sewage system.
"We could've had contaminated water being dumped in the Black River below us," Jackson said. He added that waiting too long on upgrading the system could've made them fall out of compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency.
Another change coming to the Pocahontas Water and Sewage System comes in the form of a new water tower. Jackson said they're still determining where the tower will go on the West side of town. Jackson explained it will help keep the East and West sides of town balanced.
"The low pressure zone has about a million and a half gallons of storage, the high pressure zone has 250,000 gallons of storage so we're trying to balance that out a little bit," Jackson explained.
He said they spoke to engineers last week who suggested the new tank hold 250,000 gallons of water.
"It will give us excess capacity and will allow for some growth to the Western and Northern side of the city," Jackson explained.
Jackson said they hope to have the work completed on the sewage lagoons within the next six weeks. He said once they determine where the new water tower will go, they'll begin that groundbreaking.