BY MELANIE BUCK –
Mena City Council approved the funding of a project for Mena Water Utilities to replace sewer lines where a new road will be laid soon. The unanimous decision by the council will designate $35,000 for the replacement of sewer pipes between Highway 71 (near Mena Ford) and Holly Harshman Elementary, along the line where North Morgan Street will be constructed.
Water Utilities Manager, Charles Pittman, explained that the lines are ok for now, but when the new ‘school road’ project is complete, it would make replacing the lines much more difficult in the years to come. “It’s a foresight issue. Because the new road is going in, they would have to put it over a very old, 8-inch sewer line. So, before the road is complete, we’ll replace the old with a 12-inch pipe before it is paved over.”
The sewer line project is expected to cost around $130,000. The remainder of the balance will be paid by the Water Department. Pittman said he is unsure of a start date for the project, as it has to go through Arkansas Highway Department approval. The Highway Department is funding 80% of the Morgan Street project, therefore making them the agency in charge.
In other Water Department news, the utility received a letter from ADEQ in regards to the ongoing manhole problem. During intense rains, manholes in the ‘older parts of town’ overflow and release water into the sewage system. The old pipes are mostly clay pipes that sometimes bust, causing inflow and infiltration into the system. Pittman said they have been working on the problem for 7-8 years and have corrected much of the problem.
He also said there is no cause for concern amongst residents. “They haven’t put us under administrative order or anything like that. We have been working on it for years and just haven’t gotten the numbers down to zero yet. ADEQ asked us to submit a plan of action to them and continue our work to correct the problem.”
There will be a pre-construction meeting on June 9th to discuss the ongoing sludge removal project at the sewer plant. Pittman said the first dredging of the lagoons and filling of the new geotubes is expected to begin the following week.
The next meeting of the Water Utilities Commission is set for June 27 at 5 p.m. in the Mena Water Office Conference Room.