Sewer sys­tem in­stal­la­tion com­pleted

Spring­dale’s north­west area pre­pared for devel­op­ment

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - LAURINDA JOENKS

SPRING­DALE — The city took two steps for­ward in the re­gional race for devel­op­ment.

Spring­dale Wa­ter Util­i­ties re­cently com­pleted in­stalling the Spring Creek San­i­tary Sewer Sys­tem in the north­west part of town. Now, the mostly ru­ral area north of West Sun­set Av­enue and west of In­ter­state 49 is ready for devel­op­ment.

The first res­i­den­tial cus­tomer on the new sys­tem re­ceived wa­ter and sewer ser­vice in Novem­ber, said Heath Ward, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the util­ity. The city-owned wa­ter and sewer util­ity is op­er­ated in­de­pen­dently by the Wa­ter and Sewer Com­mis­sion.

The 24- and 15-inch pipe­lines are buried. Even the con­struc­tion went mostly un­no­ticed be­cause the area is ru­ral.

“It’s the best-kept se­cret in Spring­dale,” Ward said.

“So much of our work is un­seen by our cus­tomers,” said Rick Pul­virenti, chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer and di­rec­tor of en­gi­neer­ing.

“Be­ing ahead in terms of in­fra­struc­ture is very un­usual,” said Jeff Coop­er­stein, a re­searcher with the Cen­ter for Busi­ness and Eco­nomic Re­search at the Uni­ver­sity of Arkansas. “Cities are al­ways be­hind.”

The $12.5 mil­lion pro­ject will serve 10,000 to 15,000 house­holds. Only an ad­di­tion of pumps would be needed to ex­pand the

sys­tem, Pul­virenti said.

The city util­ity paid for the Spring Creek sewer pro­ject with money from the rates paid by cus­tomers, Ward said. The depart­ment re­ceived no tax rev­enue, grant money or bond money.

The idea for the sewer pro­ject was first pro­posed at a City Fu­tures ses­sion in 2002. The event was spon­sored by the Cham­ber of Com­merce.

Cham­ber Pres­i­dent Perry Webb said the is­sue came up as rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the School District talked about build­ing schools west of town, and High­way Depart­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives talked about adding in­ter­changes to the in­ter­state.

“It was just a meet­ing about lo­cal roads, but we were think­ing 10 years out,” Ward said. “With so few high­way in­ter­changes, there was not a lot out there. But Paul Lawrence said, ‘There will be.’” Lawrence is a mem­ber of the Wa­ter and Sewer Com­mis­sion.

Af­ter ini­tial de­sign, Pul­virenti pre­sented a map of the Spring Creek pro­ject, and com­mis­sion­ers de­cided to move for­ward on the pro­ject in 2014, Ward said.

De­vel­op­ers first eyed the north­west quad­rant of Spring­dale for res­i­den­tial devel­op­ment 15 years ago, Webb said, and worked to ac­quire land for ma­jor sub­di­vi­sions. Dur­ing the re­ces­sion, many of these de­vel­op­ers lost the land to fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions.

“But the last five or six years, they’ve been go­ing full force again,” Webb said.

Build­ing the sewer sys­tem says the city def­i­nitely ex­pects growth to go that way, Coop­er­stein said. He said the sys­tem will serve homes near I-49 ex­its 70-73.

“It’s eas­ier to keep devel­op­ment go­ing if you in­vest in in­fra­struc­ture,” Coop­er­stein said. “Then peo­ple see it as a de­sir­able area.”

“Wher­ever your sewer stops, your growth stops,” Webb said. “There’s no place avail­able to ex­pand.”

A good sewer sys­tem al­lows for higher-den­sity devel­op­ment, Pul­virenti added. “Imag­ine a ho­tel with 100 rooms that had to have a sep­tic sys­tem for each room. That sep­tic sys­tem would be huge.”

A med­i­cal park de­vel­op­ing in the south­west area of town should ben­e­fit that north­west area with an­cil­lary busi­nesses such as restau­rants, ho­tels and shops, Coop­er­stein said. “Busi­ness drives rooftops, and then re­tail ap­pears,” he said.

Arkansas Chil­dren’s North­west opened its hospi­tal in the district last spring. Con­struc­tion con­tin­ues for fa­cil­i­ties for High­lands On­col­ogy and Mercy Health Sys­tems. A build­ing to house med­i­cal of­fices will fur­ther serve the area.

The City Coun­cil ear­lier this month ap­proved a hous­ing devel­op­ment in the area north of West Sun­set Av­enue and west of I-49.

Land­marc Cus­tom Homes plans the Cot­tages at the Park sub­di­vi­sions ad­ja­cent to the Shaw Fam­ily Park. Both should be com­pleted in about a year.

Tim Boudrey, co-owner of the build­ing com­pany, said devel­op­ment of the sub­di­vi­sion was based more on the op­por­tu­nity the lo­ca­tion of­fered, but the com­pany wouldn’t have bought the prop­erty with­out sewer ser­vice.

“Once we put in the back­bone, it will be cheaper for de­vel­op­ers,” Ward said. “They take re­spon­si­bil­ity to get their projects hooked to the main line. Then we take over per­pet­ual main­te­nance.”

With­out sewer ser­vice, each home in his new sub­di­vi­sion would re­quire a sep­tic sys­tem, Boudrey said.

“Sewer ca­pac­ity is based on grade of the land, and luck­ily, we have a lot of grades,” Pul­virenti said.

The sys­tem re­lies on land forms to move the waste­water, with grav­ity pulling the wa­ter down hill through pipes to the west to­ward the Illi­nois River, he said. Pump sta­tions — also called lift sta­tions — at low points push the waste back east to the city Wa­ter Treat­ment Fa­cil­ity on Silent Grove Road.

The pro­ject in­cluded 5.3 miles of pipe re­ly­ing on grav­ity and 3.2 miles of main pipe through which wa­ter is pumped, Pul­virenti said. The pro­ject also brought two new sewage lift sta­tions.

The sta­tion on North Wagon Wheel Road looks like a red barn be­side a bab­bling brook. The other off North Elm Street presents the fa­cade of a home, com­plete with wreathes and lights for the sea­son.

Pul­virenti said the wa­ter depart­ment tries to blend its fa­cil­i­ties with those in the neigh­bor­hood, so they don’t look like an eye­sore, or a com­mer­cial or in­dus­trial space in the mid­dle of $500,000 homes.

“We want to be good neigh­bors,” he said.

Ward noted much of the sewer up­grade was done in co­op­er­a­tion with the Arkansas Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion’s con­struc­tion along the Arkansas 612 by­pass — re­plac­ing and up­grad­ing pipes when the earth turned for the track of the high­way.

“Oth­er­wise it would be very ex­pen­sive to up­grade,” Ward said. “They pay the base cost, and we pay the ex­pense of the up­grade. More bang for your buck. We value those re­la­tion­ships.”

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/DAVID GOTTSCHALK

A Spring­dale Wa­ter Util­i­ties lift sta­tion was built off of Kelly Road near North Elm Street in Spring­dale. The city has added wa­ter and sewer lines in north­west Spring­dale in an­tic­i­pa­tion of ex­pected devel­op­ment in the north­west part of town.

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/DAVID GOTTSCHALK

A Spring­dale Wa­ter Util­i­ties lift sta­tion was built off Wagon Wheel Road for added wa­ter and sewer lines in north­west part of the city in an­tic­i­pa­tion of devel­op­ment in the area.

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