ELKINS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Sewage and drainage projects are in the works in Elkins.

The sewage project will take priority. In May, the Department of Health issued a notice to the city, requiring a new force main and lift station be built immediately. Elkins mayor-elect, Troy Reed, said that the initial phase of the sewage project will cost around $11 million.

The first phase will also tie the sewage system into the city of Fayetteville’s. Everything will be pumped into its water treatment center. Right now, Elkins has the money in bonds to fund the first phase, but there’s still a lot that will need to be done.

According to Reed, the entire project will cost around $39 million.

“It is difficult to find those funds. You know, it may be that we have to look into getting a long-term loan,” said Reed.

The first phase of the sewage project is expected to take around 18 months to complete. Reed said it is expected to open for bids at the beginning of January.

Another big task the city will soon undertake is a drainage project. Reed described Elkins as a bowl. Whenever it rains, the town holds the water. Even rain from cities to the south and east of Elkins can cause issues for residents.

“The more rain they get, the harder it hits us because it all flows back this way. So, we definitely have some flooding issues,” said Reed.

According to Reed, there are about seven drainage outlets that go to the river within city limits. Those will need to be addressed first.

“Several of them are kind of restricted with trees, and they’re pretty curvy. So if we can straighten those out and get more of our stormwater to the river, the better off we’ll be,” said Reed. “That’s something that we’re definitely going to have to address pretty quick.”

Reed said the process could take some time.

“The drainage project—that’s going to take quite a while because once we get those seven outlets done on the east side of Highway 16, then we’ve got to work on everything on the west side,” he said.

Right now, it’s unknown what the total cost of drainage projects for the city will be. Reed asked residents for patience as the process plays out.

With major projects on the horizon, Reed is confident the city will be able to handle them, and is looking forward to what it will mean for the future.

“We’re excited to be able to get this undertaking done. It’ll be huge for our town. We’ll have more than enough capacity for most anything that’s going to come into to our town,” said Reed.