Sewer Service On Fast Track
Commission To Continue Work On Water, Wastewater Projects
By Richard Dean Prudenti
The NW Arkansas Morning News
TONTITOWN -- The Tontitown City Council approved the creation Tuesday of a Water and Sewer Commission with the power to provide sewer service to the city, including approval of a contract to hook onto the Springdale sewer system.
"Springdale has a contract ready to sign. We have an opportunity of a lifetime. Take the opportunity," said Alderman Andrew Penzo.
The commission replaces separate Tontitown water and sewer advisory committees created in January. Penzo and other members of the council at the time wanted the advisory panels because they opposed anybody other than the council members controlling water and sewer projects. The advisory panels could not take action on their own.
The city established a water and sewer commission last summer but dissolved it after several months of arguing over the appointment of one of the members, Casey Dunigan.
The council ended up appointing Dunigan on Tuesday to the new five-member Water and Sewer Commission.
Councilman Ken Robertson said, "It is appropriate to move back to a commission."
Councilmen now like having a commission, because without it the city might delay the formation of a wastewater collection system.
Any delay in the sewer project could jeopardize the status of businesses along U.S. 412, which are scheduled to be the first to receive sewer service.
City leaders are not sure how long the Washington County Health Department will wait before deciding the restaurants must close because of failing septic tanks.
The formation of a commission to quickly implement a sewer system demonstrates to the Health Department that the city is doing everything it can to get Tontitown off septic tanks, said Mayor Paul Maestri.
"We fought to get the Health Department to give us leeway and give us another year before we had to have sewer," Maestri said. "We'd better have lots of improvements this summer and fall, or they won't put up with us next year."
Restaurants and other businesses could have sewer service within a year and a half, if everything goes as planned, he said.