STATE OF THE CITY- WEST FORK, ARKANSAS 2012
Frances Hime, Mayor
The “State of the City” document should be more than the financial statement and budget approved by the City Council. Composing the State of the City presents it share of challenges. Do we want to hear the negative? What are the positives? How do we measure the direction we are headed? The most important question emerged from what one usually
assumes as known and understood, “What is a city?” The different definitions turned out to be diverse and surprising.
Many definitions used specific and limited criteria. Are we merely an incorporated area? Do we exist, purely because of geographic boundaries? Are we a city with services?
My search for a definition was framed by the need to find one that best described who we are as a City. Dredged from the many descriptions, I chose” A center of population, commerce,
and culture; a town of significant size and importance.”
Population is the group of people who call West Fork “home.” Commerce is where and what
we buy and sell. Culture is the set of shared beliefs within the population that is perpetuated to those within and communicated to the outside.
Our population has grown by slightly more than 300 in the past ten years. The average age is older. Families with school age children are leaving West Fork. The impact is not easily visible. Older people and smaller families use less water and they purchase fewer goods. The school district has fewer students and their budget is negatively affected. The flood
prone streets and their residents remain without consideration. The City also has vacant homes affected by the mortgage loan crisis. Some will be purchased by responsible home owners. Others will be purchased by landlords who we hope will be responsible with upkeep. Tax revenues are based on property values.
Commerce has declined in fact and in spirit. A number of small businesses have closed. On a more hopeful note, one store is larger and has expanded selections. The prospect of commercial space on Phillips Street provides hope. But the future of commerce is without a plan. What commerce do we want and where? Will we have a downtown, a “center” that will attract people because they can go there and find what they want in a defined area?
“Significant size and importance” in the definition, poses its own set of questions. Are we of a significant size? Are we important? To whom are we important and how important?
Population, commerce and culture are what people experience in West Fork regardless of whether they are a resident or a stranger. In other words, how we define our city, both in appearance and actions, will be the picture the world sees.
March 21, 2012
WEST FORK WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT
CITY OF WEST FORK, ARKANSAS
The West Fork wastewater treatment plant consists of two lagoons that
were built in 1970 and a mechanical plant that was put in service in 1973. The
first lagoon cell is used for flow equalization of the raw wastewater. The second
lagoon cell is used for dechlorination of the treated wastewater. A mechanical
plant located on the east side of the lagoon cells is used for biological treatment
of the City’s wastewater. This plant was designed for a flow of 100,000 gallons
per day and it is now treating approximately 140,000 gallons per day. Between
the age of this plant (36 years) and the fact that it is operating at a rate in excess
of its design capacity, it is reaching its useful life.
As indicated in the attached maps, the two lagoons were built immediately
on the east side of the West Fork of the White River. The entire plant site for
both the lagoons and the mechanical plant beside the lagoons are included in the
Zone AE of the applicable Flood Insurance Rate Map. This is the case for the
FIRM map published in 1991 (Panel 170 for Washington County) and the
updated Preliminary FIRM map dated August 7, 2006 (Panel 360 of Washington
County, Map No. 05143C0360F). A copy of the 1991 FIRM map is attached.
It is unknown what flood information was utilized when the plant was
designed in 1970 to 1972. However, the plant has flooded twice since 2004 and
has been subject to flood damage in prior years. During these flood periods, the
lagoons are submerged in the river, and the plant is inaccessible for operation
and maintenance. Damage to the plant facilities and the security fence has
Since this plant was constructed, the City of West Fork has expanded to
the north, along Highway 71. Most of this expansion area does not have a
sewage collection system because it would require pump stations to route the
sewage back to the wastewater treatment plant. There is one preschool facility
that has installed its own pump station. Otherwise, residential growth in this area
is relying on septic tanks.
Consequently, the existing treatment plant has multiple issues, as follows:
1. It is old (36 years) for a welded steel package treatment plant.
2. Its design capacity is being exceeded with flows of around 140,000
gallons per day and a design capacity of 100,000 gallons per day.
3. Its location is in the wrong place due to the flood damage it has been
4. Its location is in the wrong place to allow gravity flow service to West
Fork’s growth area along Highway 71, north of the plant.
These issues can all be addressed by relocating the plant to the north, at
a location outside and/or above the flood plane area. Alternatively, this situation
could be addressed by routing the City’s wastewater flow further north, past the
City of Greenland, to Fayetteville’s wastewater collection and treatment system.
Currently, Fayetteville accepts the wastewater generated in Greenland and treats
it at its east wastewater treatment plant. Greenland’s sewer mains and pump
station are near capacity, so routing West Fork’s flow through Greenland would
require increased capability in Greenland’s mains and pump stations, or separate
mains and a pump station for West Fork’s flow. Greenland’s system needs to be
upgraded, so a cooperative effort may be possible.
Fayetteville has just completed a new wastewater treatment plant on the west side of Fayetteville and
has substantially reduced its load on the east plant. Consequently, it is
anticipated that Fayetteville would be capable of treating West Fork’s flows, and
that Fayetteville would be interested in this concept to accomplish more
regionalization of the area’s wastewater treatment. Depending upon the actual
connection point to the Fayetteville system, this concept of routing West Fork’s
flow to Fayetteville could require 29,000 to 34,000 feet of sewer main, as well as
a pump station.
Previous economic evaluations have indicated that it is more cost effective
to expand the plant at its existing location, than to route the flows to Fayetteville.
However, these evaluations did not include the considerations of a new plant site
out of the flood plane and further north to receive gravity flow from the north end
of West Fork. If the plant is to be moved north, then part of the pipeline required
to reach Fayetteville must be built. At some point, it becomes more economical
to route the pipeline all the way to Fayetteville, depending on how far the plant
would be moved to the north.