West Fork sewer fees will increase $28, city tackles overdue wastewater project

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WEST FORK, ARK. (KNWA) — The City of West Fork is fixing a problem that’s long overdue.

After 50 years of use, the West Fork Treatment Plant will be shutting down.

The project will tie its wastewater treatment system to Fayetteville’s Noland Wastewater Treatment Facility.

City officials researched several other options, including remodeling the current treatment plant or moving it.

West Fork Mayor Heith Caudle says the sewer connection with Fayetteville was the best option both financially and environmentally.

As a result, roughly 800 sewer customers will have $28 tacked onto their sewer bill.

However, it will not be added all at once.

The rate increase started in June and every six months it will gradually increase by $7, until it reaches $28.

In total, Caudle says a $10 million loan was taken out, but the state is helping to forgive $5.5 million.

The city is working to pay back the $4.5 million and connection fees to Fayetteville.

Currently, infrastructure work is complete and the city is purchasing easements that will connect its line to Fayetteville.

“The more people we can get connect to our sewer system, obviously that bill can come down, potentially. That’s one of the exciting things about this sewer project, is we’re opening up roughly three miles of Highway 71 frontage for development with the sewer expansion. We’re hoping we will get some development in the area, and that will help offset those sewer fees,” Caudle said.

The city is working with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality to continue to make improvements at its current facility to lessen the environmental impact.

Caudle says when the treatment plant is shut down, one option for the land would be to donate the 20 acres to a nearby park.

Construction to replace sewer lines is expected to wrap up October 2020.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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