According to General Manager Dan Dawson, residences and businesses in Searcy that are not served by the city’s wastewater collection system could have access by 2025 if Searcy Water Utilities receives funding for expansion.
Dawson said he applied for wastewater and stormwater funding through the Arkansas Department of Agriculture for American Rescue Plan Act funds for the project and that the department public should know something by the end of the month.
In the funding request made available to The Daily Citizen of the city, it says about 5% of Searcy residences and businesses are “sewerless” and have septic tanks instead. About 1,150 Searcy residents are affected, most on the outskirts of town. Some are in housing additions for low-income people who cannot afford the cost of developing the sewage collection system, depending on demand.
The White County unit of the Arkansas Department of Health has reportedly received numerous complaints about non-functioning septic systems within city limits. “But because development funds are limited, expansion of Searcy’s sewage collection system has been economically unfeasible,” the application states.
The proposal aims to secure funding for the expansion project “so that potential and actual adverse health and environmental effects can be eliminated.”
“Many of these residences and businesses have failing septic systems, which are now discharging untreated sewage with nutrients into the ground and ditches,” the app says. “Being connected to Searcy’s sewage collection system will allow this source of environmental pollution to now be treated at Searcy’s sewage treatment plant and no longer go directly into the environment. “
Dawson said the idea project was born after the city received “just over $2 million” in ARPA funds earlier this year. “When the feds sent the first $2 million was when the mayor [Kyle Osborne] first approached me and said, ‘Is there maybe something we can do to find another grant and add some money to this and do this project?’
Dawson said he did some checking and realized the state also had ARPA funds, about $1.6 billion that were supposed to be for COVID-19, broadband and infrastructure improvements. water and waste water. “By the time they were done with COVID and broadband, and broadband took the lion’s share of it, they had $270 million left for water and wastewater improvements.”
That $270 million, Dawson said, was split half into water projects and half into sanitation projects. “They limited the grants to $5 million per piece, so we applied for a $5 million grant from the ANRC [Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, part of the Department of Agriculture] on these public funds.
He said the due date for the application was Nov. 4, “and they’re supposed to have done all the filings the day before Thanksgiving.” The ANRC must meet on December 2 to finalize everything.
Dawson said he hopes funding will be approved “” because we want to move forward with this project.
Councilor Don Raney said at the Searcy Town Council meeting last week, “I’m not sure we can do better.”
Total funding for the project is $8,981,800. That would be for 584 residences and businesses inside the city limits that are not on Searcy’s sewage collection system.
“I’ve always said if we knew we were going to get money, I want to do something that’s permanent, long-lasting, and I think that’s what we need to do,” Raney said.
Councilor David Morris said he had been asked for several years, “Why don’t we have sewers in different parts of the city? He said that was a difficult question to answer.
Morris asked Dawson if the project would give everyone within the city limits the ability to “connect to a sewer line, a supply line, or something of that nature.” Dawson said, “That’s right.”
“So they would be responsible for the cost of the line to their house and like everyone else they will be responsible for the maintenance, upkeep and repairs of that line from their house to that line that will be installed? ” Morris asked. Dawson said, “Right.”
City Attorney Buck Gibson said there may or may not be a right of way for residents to access. “It’s not something the city or the water department or Searcy Water Utilities can handle. It will at least be available in the realm of reason.
Morris asked Dawson if pumping stations were planned, and he said that was also correct.
If funding is received, the application lists the submission date as September 30, 2023, the construction start date as November 30, 2023, and construction completion as July 31, 2025.
- Construction of the sewage system will disrupt traffic and utilities along Portland’s Baxter Boulevard
- Wastewater from Marzetti Frozen Pasta flows into Little Four Mile Creek
- Saline “stands alongside the neighbors”, condemns the project for a private wastewater treatment plant in the canton of Lodi
- Covid-19 NZ: No Covid-19 in wastewater, no new community cases in fear of Wellington virus