Loan to city OK’d to rein in sewage
The Arkansas Natural Resources Commission will issue a loan of $61.6 million to the Little Rock Water Reclamation Authority for the final stage of its infrastructure improvement project designed to prevent sewage overflows.
The authority, Little Rock’s wastewater utility, will use the funds to assess sewer lines throughout the city, determine whether lines need to be expanded and then replace the ones that do, said John Holloway, the utility’s director of engineering services.
Pipes that are too small are susceptible to leaking when rainwater infiltrates them. Such leaks led to a lawsuit in 2001 from the Sierra Club, which eventually prompted the $263.1 million infrastructure improvement project.
Before the improvements, which have taken place for a few years, sewage leaks were common after heavy rainfalls, said Glen Hooks, director of the Arkansas chapter of the Sierra Club. The leaks don’t happen as much anymore, Hooks said, and the pipe replacements will reduce them further.
The loan’s terms have not been set, but the repayment schedule will not exceed 30 years, according officials of the commission, which is a state agency that establishes policy and makes funding and regulatory decisions regarding soil conservation, nutrient management, water rights, dam safety and water resources planning and development.