State Tells West Fork To Stop Sewage Flow Into White River

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The City of West Fork is under state order to stop raw sewage from leaking into the White River, after two sewage leaks were found at the city's wastewater treatment plant earlier this month.

The new emergency order mandates the city to clean up the waste and tell the state in writing what steps are planned to fix the problem and clean it up.

This week, the city reportedly took some action to stop the leak. They put up hay bales to stop the water in the trench, picked up garbage and added pumps to transport the water to one pond from an area on the sewer treatment side of the fence.

Some residents believe such measures not a permanent fix to the problem, though. They said the overflow area is still wet and flowing slimy gray sludge.

"We are not really sure how it's getting clean, because it's still going into the pond, which of course has never been dredged," said Susan Cooney, who lives nearby. "It's a super bad problem."

Now that the state has stepped in, Cooney said she hopes the city finds a way to fix the problem.

"Maybe we needed someone like the state to say this is not right and you do have to change," she said.

A complaint was reportedly made via email that when it rains, raw sewage overflows from a manhole on the south side of the treatment facility and flows into the White River, according to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality.

ADEQ inspectors visited the facility twice, on April 2 and 3. They observed sewage overflow was occurring and that waste water was entering the White River. On the second visit (April 3), inspectors observed a second overflow occurring at a splitter box located on the facility.

On Monday (April 7), inspectors returned to the facility once more and saw the overflows were still occurring, according to the ADEQ.

John Pennington with the Beaver Watershed Alliance said the wastewater facility should have never gotten to this point.

"You do not ever want your waste water treatment facility to be degraded to this point that you literally can not do much to fix it," he said.

Mayor Charlie Rossetti said he plans to meet with all sides to resolve the problem.



  • Hay bales

    Hay bales???

    West fork leaders should be criminally prosecuted for extreme stupidity and for failing to meet our absurdly low expectations.

    Let look at it another way: if I hypothetically went down to Your water fountain at work,, dropped my shorts and took a dump, would you have me arrested?

    Ok…ok… West fork sprinkled some hay out to pacify the public, but should we count this?

  • Johnny Porter

    Elkins did dump millions of gallons of sewer into lake Sequoya.

    At one point some 4×4’s were “mudding” just below hwy 16 and rammed the main sewer pipe and busted it almost in half.

    People smelled sewer for over a week in that area, but it was hot hot hot summer and so much weeds blocking the view off the road.

    During heavy rains, on the other side of the bridge just on the north side of hwy 16, just west of Hollybrook estates, the sewer pump substation used to flow out millions of gallons of raw sewage into lake Sequoia. I have seen this many times. The sewage erupts like a volcano. I think Elkins finally fixed all this as I have not seen this sewage spills in a while. It should all be fixed as they charge like $60.00 a month just for sewer on 1,700 gallons of water.

    Finally a boater saw a river of sewage running into the lake.

    Nothing was really said. A bull dozer moved all the dirt around and they dumped two dump truck loads of orange dirt/rocks to block the little road down to that area.

    Now if the EPA, or County even sees you building an out house, they will seize your property.

    Pure hypocrites.

  • Michael

    First this is total irresponsibility by the city leaders whom had to know of this issue for months, if not years! This is indeed criminal. There is no time for “meetings” to resolve this problem, the time for meetings has long passed. This situation requires immediate action by the state or, as much as I hate to say it, the Federal Government!

  • Chuck

    Agreed! Hay bales to stop sewage from flowing into the White River–are you kidding?? And the mayor wants to “meet with all sides” to resolve the problem? How about some massive fines levied against the city of Westfork? That kind or threat may bring about a REAL resolution – which is nothing short of stopping sewer from running into the river! Problem is Arkansas politicians have no back bone when it comes to protecting water quality. Consider chicken waste dumped into the Illinois River, a commercial hog farm on a tributary of the Buffalo River. We keep going like this, there’ll be no Natural Beauty to enjoy in the Natural State!

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