Alma Trash Pickup To Be Delayed; Wastewater Pump Station Flooding, But Rest Of System Working

Alma's Wastewater Treatment Plant Pump Station (Courtesy Alma Public Works)

ALMA (KFSM) — Trash pickup will be delayed in Alma this week, because trash trucks may have trouble reaching the landfill.

Mark Yardley, public works director for the Alma Public Works, said the trash pickup is contracted to River Valley Waste Disposal, which uses the Fort Smith Landfill for its disposal.

Unfortunately, the only way to get there is over the Barling Bridge, otherwise known as the Highway 59 Bridge. That bridge was heavily congested Tuesday morning after the other three bridges that get into Fort Smith — the Garrison Avenue, Midland and I-540 bridges — were shut down because of rising floodwaters.

The I-540 and Midland Avenue bridges were reopened later Tuesday morning. But the traffic snarls that morning means it could still take hours to get a load to the landfill and return for pickup, Yardley said.

“It’s going to be greatly delayed,” Yardley said Tuesday morning. “They’re going to continue trying, it’s just that it’s not going to happen on the normal schedule.”

Yardley suggested that people put their trash out as normal, but if it isn’t picked up that day, to put it inside so animals won’t get to it and try again the next day.

The other alternative, Yardley said, is for River Valley Waste to take their loads to the Tontitown Landfill in Northwest Arkansas, which may prove to be a faster route. Yardley said that decision will be up to River Valley Waste.

As for the other public works, Yardley said the water system isn’t having any problems, though there is a “minor inconvenience” with the wastewater system.

Alma’s water supply, Lake Alma, is at a higher elevation and not in danger of being contaminated by the floods, he said. The water plant itself is “high and dry and in great shape,” he said.

The wastewater station’s effluent pump station has taken on water and is expected to take on more before it’s over with, but it’s not a major issue because the station is simply used to pump treated wastewater into the river. The pump isn’t functioning, but it’s not a problem, since the water is simply flowing into the river water surrounding the station.

“Instead of us going to the river, the river came to us,” Yardley said.

Yardley said the pump was down because the electrical system had to be abandoned to keep it from being damaged by water. He said crews came in as the flood approached and dismantled the electrical system to take it to higher ground, everything from transformers to circuit boards.

“We’ve salvaged everything to keep it from being destroyed,” he said. Once the water has receded, the system can simply be reassembled.

Yardley said the lagoons that are part of the wastewater treatment are surrounded by levees and are not in danger.

The main wastewater treatment plant is at a higher elevation and isn’t affected, Yardley said.


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