March 03, 2010 EditionAlso in this issue...
Pipeline going in
Charles Roberson of Pocahontas (right) helps Billy Lawrence of College City load Northeast Arkansas Public Water Authority distribution pipes near the Rails to Trails path at Free Street in Walnut Ridge. Crews have been placing and laying 12-inch ductile iron pipe in the Hoxie and Walnut Ridge area the past couple of weeks.
Work is underway on the pipeline that will carry water from the Northeast Arkansas Public Water Authority plant near Black Rock to the authority's members.
BRB Contractors of Topeka, Kans., is constructing the pipeline, which will run to each individual water company for distribution.
The Lawrence County Regional Water District, as well as the towns of Walnut Ridge, Hoxie, Alicia and Sedgwick make up the public authority, which will use water from the Spring River rather than tapping ground water.
Charles Roberson of Pocahontas, who is working for BRB Contractors, said they hope to be done laying the pipe for the distribution lines by mid-April.
"We are trying to get a lot of it done before the farmers need to get in their fields," he said.
In addition to laying the pipes, the company is also hooking them up to fire hydrants.
"Once the pipes are laid they will just have to be flushed out and then turned on to receive the water," Roberson said.
A.J. Henry, president of the authority, said the company has worked hard to get their portion done so that they cause as little disruption as possible.
"They've done a real good job so far," he said. "They worked when the weather was terrible to try to get out of the farmers' way before the planting season begins." Construction has also begun on the treatment plant, but that part of the project is not expected to be complete until June of 2011.
"They have cleared the ground for the plant, and construction is underway," Henry said.
Henry said while it will still be a while before water is flowing from the new plant to the individual entities, one town will soon be seeing benefits. Alicia, which has been through several boil orders recently due to equipment failure and water contamination, will be able to use the new distribution lines laid by BRB to receive water from the Lawrence County Regional Water District.
James Taylor of Alicia, who is a member of the Northeast Arkansas Public Water Authority board, said he is hopeful that the connection will be complete within a month.
"When it is complete, it will all be automatic," he said. "We'll flush the lines and switch over, and we won't have to treat water locally anymore."
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