FBI Investigates West Fork Corruption Claims, Wastewater Dumping

wastewater west fork

The FBI is looking into corruption allegations against West Fork city officials, as well as issues concerning waste being dumped into the White River from the city’s wastewater treatment facility.

“Complaints started coming to our office in spring of this year, and for several weeks we kept receiving additional information about what was going on down there,” Deputy Prosecutor Denis Dean said.

He said concerned citizens contacted his office about sewage leaking from the water treatment facility into the White River, as well as corruption at City Hall.

“The allegations cover both possible violations of state law, possible violations of federal law,” Dean said, “So that’s why you can have an agency, a federal agency like the FBI, look at it as opposed to the Arkansas State Police or a local law enforcement organization.”

An anonymous letter sent to Attorney General Dustin McDaniel by a West Fork citizen details claims that city officials intimidate employees and have covered up problems with the sewage plant.

West Fork Utilities Superintendent Butch Bartholomew said the issue with the 40-year-old plant has been temporarily fixed, after it became public in April that waste was being dumped into the White River.

“We had an overflow problem at our waste water treatment that has constantly gotten worse, since the time these were identified but we’ve added additional pumps,” Bartholomew said.

Mayor Charlie Rossetti said in a statement that the city stopped the runoff into the White River in April when it was brought to their attention.

“We’ve had no other overflows, and we’ve had some reported but they are bogus reports, and we’ve looked into those and everything is good to go,” Bartholomew said.

Bartholomew said they have worked closely with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality as well as the health department to solve the issue. He said the plant is clear of violations.

“We’re just as concerned about this, even more than anyone and we certainly want to get a permanent solution to it with this pipeline to Fayetteville that’s so badly needed installed,” Bartholomew said.

City officials said they are working on getting a pipeline built to connect to Fayetteville’s drinking water  supply for the city of West Fork to use. Bartholomew said they don’t have a timeline as to when construction of the pipeline will start, but he said the city was submitting an updated plan sometime in June.

The Washington County Prosecutor’s Office staff urges people with concerns or additional information on the waste water treatment facility or alleged corruption in West Fork to contact their office or the FBI.

6 comments

  • Patriot

    This is crazy! West fork bought bales of straw to stop bacteria and other dangerous microorganisms? This is how state money was wasted?

    Priorities people! This supplies the drinking water of NW Arkansas!

  • That guy

    Not surprised at all. This area is full of the “good ol’ boy networks”… We need to clean the trash out.

  • Mark Smith

    Fbi do the job quickly and aggressively to restore both safe drinking water to ALL involved and the public trust. If there are guilty, then throw the book at them. If corruption or ignorance (NOT AN EXCUSE) have operated, then criminally prosecute the guilty and I mean those that commited crimes and those that were in a position of knowing and not reporting the crimes. Even those that did not know but should have should be prosecuted because they failed the public. Just as Nuremberg demonstrated, even following orders is not an excuse.

    When is Arkansas going to demand and value education and intelligence over good ol boy ignorance which propogates power based on leveraging who you know over success through academic achievement – an impartial measure of intelligence and values.

    I’ve been chastised by an individual in these forums for continuing my tagline of Crack a Book” and my seemingly hatred of Arkansas. First, I don’t hate Arkansas. The people are well meaning and caring over and above most other states of the union. This is what makes the pain from the effects of ignorance so unbearable. The generations that have suffered poverty, drug addiction (meth is latest) and multiple marriages all from babies having babies, is hideous to witness. People need to prise generational development based on valueing education as the best means to provide happiness for themselves, their children and grandchildren. Prise academic achievement over sports would be a good start and your talking to an ex-college athlete so I understand the relative importance of both.

    Elders, lead! Give youngsters hope. Turn the old way it’s ear. That will get their attention. There was someone one here the other day that said they meet smarter people with 5th grade educations over some with PHD’s. If they were truly wise they would agree with the above.

    The temptation would be to ignore this and keep doing the same thing. The definition of insanity is repeating the same thing expecting a different outcome.

    Arkansas we are 48th in the country in education. Within 10 years, we can be 25th. In 20, 18th and in 30 = #1. Heck, we can’t be number one in football so lets be #1 in something that means something!

  • Sarah 1

    Don’t be afraid Mark Smith but I agree with you. Education is the destination to escape poverty. Crack a book is not a bad choice of words but when you have spelling words misspelled, it might be a bit of
    a problem. Although you might use spell check. Just a suggestion.

    Arkansas is a wonderful state with so much to offer. We have to work harder to curtail drugs, violence, and direct our children toward lofty goals. In other words, put children’s needs first and the parents needs last. By the way, birth control has been reduced significantly but it should be available for FREE to every single person with no questions asked, even junior high students (unless you are with them every minute).

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