A CLOSER LOOK: Broken West Fork effluent line not a hazard

A Closer Look

WEST FORK, Ark. (KNWA) — A broken pipeline that discharges effluent from a waste treatment plant in West Fork is not a hazard to the creek it runs along, officials say.

The line is just north of the Dye Creek Bridge, which has been closed because of recent flooding, according to Isaac Harderson, public works director for the City of West Fork.

Heavy flooding caused the effluent line to break a little over a week ago, according to Nick Batker, project manager for McClelland Consulting Engineers.

Batker said that floodwater washed away 20 to 30 feet of the river bank, causing the effluent line to become exposed.

“There’s no dirt under it to support it,” Batker said. “[With] the weight of the water and nothing to support it, it’s going to break.”

The break caused effluent to pour out. The effluent comes from a sewage treatment plant, but Harderson said it’s not a hazard to the creek.

Harderson said the water is treated at the sewage treatment plan and is treated well enough to return into natural bodies of water.

The broken line discharged the effluent into White River, Harderson said.

Officials contacted the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and submitted a new location for effluent discharge, according to Batker.

“We submitted a request on June 25 to address the situation and we are waiing on their response,” Batker said.

Batker said he and city officials are not seeking a new line for the effluent, but have instead requested that the ADEQ permit them to use a manhole near where the line was as the outfall structure for the effluent.

Batker said using a manhole to release the effluent would not adversely impact the land around it.

While the effluent is not causing hazards, there is already E. coli in the creek because of heavy rainfall adversely affecting the nearby sewage treatment plant, according to Batker.

“Anytime they get a heavy rain, their treatment plant gets overloaded,” Batker said. “ADEQ is working with the city to resolve that.”

The city has posted a sign at the creek warning residents about the presence of E. Coli, Harderson said.

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