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[Archived] Help wanted: Developers could end up paying portion of sewer improvement costs

| STIR NEWS | April 21, 2017



EDITOR'S NOTE:  THE WESTSIDE SEWER PLANT FOR FAYETTEVILLE IS LOCATED ENTIRELY IN THE ILLINOIS RIVER BASIN.  CURRENTLY, HALF OF FAYETTEVILLE'S TREATED WASTE GOES TO THE ILLINOIS RIVER FROM A TREATMENT PLANT IN THE WHITE RIVER BASIN.  WHY DOES OKLAHOMA GET ONE-HALF OF FAYETTEVILLE'S SEWAGE NOW?  THE REASON IS THE IMPACT ALL OF IT WOULD HAVE ON THE WHITE RIVER AND BEAVER LAKE, SOURCE OF NORTHWEST ARKANSAS' DRINKING WATER.  THIS SO-CALLED "SPLIT FLOW" IS THE REASON OKLAHOMA WENT TO THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT TO STOP FAYETTEVILLE'S PLANS.  IT IS THE REASON STIR WAS FOUNDED.
E.B.



Help wanted: Developers could end up paying portion of sewer improvement costs
 
BY ADAM WALLWORTH Northwest Arkansas Time
 
Posted on Wednesday, August 3, 2005
 
Northwest Arkansas Times (Fayetteville)
 
Some developers may have to pay a share of the costs to improve sewer capacity in their development areas until Fayetteville’s citywide sewer project is completed, which could be 2009.
 
Tom Terminella will be among those developers after the Fayetteville City Council rezoned more than 350 acres of the property where he is planning to build his Mountain Ranch development. If developed to the maximum allowed under the new zoning, Mountain Ranch could have 1,200 units, which would take up the remaining capacity of the Hamestring and Owl Creek lift stations.
 
City Engineer Ron Petrie told the council that preliminary numbers show that the lift stations only have room for 400 units each, though the Owl Creek station flows into Hamestring.
 
An assessment district is being prepared so that developers pay for the needed improvements, he said.
 
The sewer system primarily flows by gravity and lift stations are used to pump sewage from the lowest point of a drainage basin to the top of the next.
 
Jeremy Pate, director of current planning, said that of the 1,200 units, about 400 would flow to the drainage basins served by the two lift stations. The development is not likely to be built to the maximum level allowed, he said, and Terminella has discussed building far less than the maximum.
 
Pate said other options are being investigated, and it may be possible to pump the sewage eastward to another drainage basin.
 
The council also approved the annexation and rezoning of approximately 24.35 acres, that could have a maximum build out of 97 units flowing into the Hamestring lift station.
 
Pate said that developments are not building to the maximum allowed, so there will likely 60-70 units built.
 
Petrie said the projected remaining capacity is based on the amount of units that have been approved by the Planning Commission. Though approved, most of the developments have not begun construction, he said, so that the capacity will not be needed for a few years.
 
The remaining capacity is a concern, but not yet an emergency situation, Petrie said, because it takes three years from the start of construction to the flush of a toilet.
 
The council Sewer Committee will meet Thursday to discuss the next step in the ongoing sewer project, following set backs from the bidding of the westside sewer plant. The city had certified $48 million for the construction of the plant, but the lowest bid came in at $62 million.
 
The committee is expected to authorize the process of repackaging the sewer plant for a rebid, which will likely require certification of enough funds to pay for the a $57-58 million sewer plant, which was estimated at $39.5 million in 2003.
 
Voters approved a 3/4 cent sales tax to repay up to $125 million in bonds for the entire project, which recently has been estimated at more than $150 million. The new estimate includes a $12 million project that would include a new lift station in Farmington, which would alleviate pressure on the area served by the Owl Creek and Hamestring stations.
 
The city cannot currently do the work because of a state law that prohibits the construction of sewer facilities outside city limits, but the project could be undertaken if an agreement to take over Farmington’s system is successfully negotiated between the cities. The council passed a resolution appointing a negotiation team consisting of Ward 2 Alderman Kyle Cook, City Attorney Kit Williams and Steve Davis, director of finance and internal services.
 
The council also passed an amendment to the resolution sponsored by Ward 3 Alderman Bobby Ferrell. The amendment is intended to hold Fayetteville customers harmless from any cost increase that could result from the negotiations.
 
Mayor Dan Coody said the team can throw out the memorandum of understanding he reached with Farmington Mayor John Harris, and start over if they so choose. The memorandom calls for Fayetteville to take over Farmington’s sewer system and also states that Farmington’s rates will be reduced to match Fayetteville’s.
 
The Farmington system needs hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of improvements, in addition to the $12 million lift station and lines that would accompany the project. Fayetteville has a contract to provide sewer service to the city until 2009, though the agreement does not stipulate any flow levels.
 
If developers pay to add capacity to Farmington’s existing lift station, the city could lift its moratorium on sewer taps and potentially take up Fayetteville’s remaining capacity until the new sewer project is completed.
 
The council was set to consider allowing a development in the county to connect to city sewer, however, the item was tabled because of some concerns raised by the planning office, said Crystal Goedereis, who was making the request.
 
In other business, the postponed consideration of allowing staff to negotiate with elkins to provide the city solid waste and recycling services. The item will be considered in two weeks.