FORT SMITH, Ark (KNWA/KFTA) — According to city administrator Carl E. Geffken, the city of Fort Smith will need over $1 billion to improve their water and sewage system.

Geffken says he has seen media reports recently that said “the issue with sewage and water is a new issue but the concern is not new. This is related to our consent decree.”

City administrators said that the city of Fort Smith has known for over two decades that the city needed to fix the problem.

The water system will cost over $400 million and the consent decree for the sewage, over $600 million.

After failing to comply with state officials over last few decades, the city was forced into a 12-year consent decree in 2015. This would require the city to fix the system by 2027, but Geffken says “The Environmental Protection Agency and The Department of Justice agreed that, based on the cost that the city had, lead the city to be able to trip an ability to add a five-year extension.

This extension must show oversight agencies how the money will be used and what changed will be made before the extension can be granted.

Fort Smith Mayor George McGill assured residents that “at the end of the day, our infrastructure is going to be positioned where we can handle the growth is coming our way. So, this project is not a bad thing.”

The projection completion date for the water and sewage projects have not been set.