BETHEL HEIGHTS, Ark. (KNWA) — The Bethel Heights wastewater treatment facility has tested positive for high levels of fecal bacteria and E. coli.
Friday– under a tight deadline — Mayor Cynthia Black submitted a plan of action to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality to fix the problem. Black didn’t want to be recorded during our sit down but she did say she’s complying with the state’s requests.
“I feel we have accomplished a lot today,” Joetta Bowen said.
Joetta Bowen and her husband live right by the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
Bowen tells us frequent flooding and runoff from the facility has been going into her property.
“It is sad that they have not done anything for all these years,” Bowen said. “Its been probably 12 years and they’ve promised and nothing has ever been done.”
The Arkansas Department of environmental quality tested samples from the city’s wastewater treatment facilities. Results revealed several water quality standards were violated. Bacteria levels were also extremely high — with both fecal matter and E. coli.
Friday, we paid a visit to city hall to hear from Black, who had a tight deadline from the ADEQ to submit paperwork by closing time on Friday.
Black said a report addressing how the city will inform the public about the violations was sent Thursday. She also tells us she’s talked with the city’s sewer operator and engineers about best management practices the city will take to eliminate violations.
“The smell is terrible,” Bowen said. “It’s embarrassing and we are just so happy that maybe something is going to be done at this point.”
Bowen says despite the city complying with the state, she and over 50 other people in town want to annex from the city and be part of Springdale. Petitions are currently circulating all over both towns to make it happen. Though some residents believe it doesn’t have to go that far.
“I don’t think it’s an easy fix but and I think we ought to give the city time to do the fix on it,” Jimmy Scott said.
ADEQ tells us once they receive the requested paperwork from the city, it will be published on their website and they will begin their reviewing process. The city must also send in a corrective action plan by Aug. 9.