SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Springdale Water Utilities is working on an approximately $51 million expansion to its wastewater treatment plant.

Brad Stewart is the environmental manager for the utility company.

“Doing this project now is going to allow us to continue to do that for years to come,” said Stewart. “I’m excited about it because I’ve got kids like everybody else.”

The wastewater plant serves more than 100,000 people in Springdale, Johnson and Lowell. That includes Stewart and his family. He says he sees the importance of the project as a worker and as a parent.

“Springdale is still going to continue to treat the wastewater disposal and discharge it back into the environment. My kids can go play out in the creek and be safe,” said Stewart.

By starting on it now, he says they plan to keep water from looking like “chocolate milk,” and instead looking cleaner.

“We’re able to keep up with the anticipated growth, both with residents moving in and jobs coming in,” said Stewart.

Springdale Water Utilities is doing this with the help of engineering firm Garver. Chris Buntin is the senior project manager at Garver. Right now, the project is in phase one. He says this is where they are building a new foundational part to replace the old one.

“It’s aged and needs to be rehabilitated. We’ve got four existing final clear fires that can’t be taken out of service until we have the new ones in,” said Buntin.

He says that’s just the start of updating an older system. He says short term, the goal of the project is to keep pace with the growth of the community. As for the long term, he expects longevity.

“Long-term capital improvements that we’ve planned with Springdale Water Utilities,” said Buntin.

With more than 100 people working on the project, he says he has high hopes the project will be done on time.

“As the population grows, we’re looking at additional process treatment as well, and we’ve planned everything to accommodate growth for the foreseeable future,” said Buntin.

The deadline for the completed project is set for 2024.