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West Memphis set to tackle major wastewater project

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Multimillion- dollar renovation will address drainage, flooding, more

[email protected] It has been a long time in the planning but the West Memphis Utility Department is pulling the trigger on a massive project to make much-needed upgrades to one of the most vital components of the city’s infrastructure.

“As you know, the city’s existing wastewater treatment facilities and sewer pipes are aging, undersized, and in need of repair,” said city social media coordnator Nick Coulter. “Last week, Mayor McClendon and West Memphis City Council voted to approve a $32.4 million wastewater system infrastructure project, that will drastically improve our wastewater system and have an immediate impact on flooding in our city. “

The infrastructure plan will improve major components of the city’s existing wastewater facility including installing additional pumps, and generators, repair over 500 manholes, repair miles of sewer mains, upgrade disinfecting UV modules, construct three new water clarifiers, and construct four miles of new sewer force mains.

Coulter outlined some of the project’s details.

• The sewer pump station at S. 22nd and E. Monroe will be rebuilt and will have its dedicated force main to the sewer treatment plant. This will improve sewer service to a large section of the city east of S. 7th.

• The sewer pump stations near Walmart and at Lehr/Ten Mile Bayou will be rebuilt/upgraded and will have their dedicated force main. This will improve sewer service to a large area of the city between North Avalon and Clement.

• The sewer pump station at the end of S Avalon has been rebuilt and upgraded to handle the additional flow from the new force main from the Walmart area.

• The Sewage Treatment Plant will be upgraded to double its capacity from

Continued on Page 3 WASTEWATER (cont.)

6.3 million gallons a day to over 12 million gallons a day. It will have the capacity to handle over 18 million gallons a day, temporarily, during heavy rains. This will improve residential sewer service during heavy rains.

• State-of-art disinfecting UV modules and three new water clarifiers will be included in the Sewer Treatment Plant upgrade.

• A backup generator is also included in the Sewage Treatment Plant upgrade. This will improve the reliability and resiliency of the system (and will ensure residents’ bathrooms will still work) during a natural disaster or power failure.

• As we saw in February, power failures in other parts of the country can impact West Memphis’ power supply. Even when our power grid is working properly, we may be told that we must cut back on our power usage, which is known as load shedding.

With the addition of the generator system at the Sewage Treatment Plant plus the existing one at the Water Treatment Plant, we can turn those generators on to meet our load shedding order without impacting residential electrical service.

• Over 500 manholes will be repaired to eliminate stormwater from leaking into them during heavy rains. Such leakage can double the amount of water the Sewage Treatment Plant receives and is why residential sewer service is impacted during heavy rains. We want all the money we are spending on upgrading the Sewage Treatment Plant to go to improving sewer service, not treating rainwater.

• The sewer mains throughout the city are another major source of rainwater leakage. To combat this, several miles of mains will be lined, in place, with a sealant that will stop the leakage. This will also prevent sinkholes.

While the price tag for the project is hefty, there was some good news, according to Coulter.

“This multi-year project is set to be completed by late 2023,” he said. “All without adding any rate increases.”

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