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[Archived] Siloam Springs sets high goals for sewage treatment

| Environment | January 02, 2014

Siloam Springs Dedicates Money For Water Quality

Engineering Firm To Begin Preliminary Work To Expand Wastewater Plant
By Richard Dean Prudenti
The NW Arkansas Morning News


SILOAM SPRINGS -- The city is scheduled to test various technology to find the best way to use an estimated $16 million to expand the Siloam Springs wastewater treatment plant.

Garver Engineers, for $466,700 or less, is scheduled to set up "mini treatment plants" to test the performance of at least two filtration systems of different companies, according to a contract the Siloam Springs Board of Directors approved earlier this week.

"They'll hook up at the end of our treatment process, and (we'll) feed the same water to both systems. We'll see how they do," said Trevor Bowman, city public works director.

The city can choose the most suitable technology so engineers can create construction documents.

"In a nutshell, they're doing preliminary investigation," said David Cameron, city administrator. "Later, we'll get into the nuts and bolts (of the project design stage)."

Officials anticipate the systems will drastically lower phosphorus levels in water passing through membrane bioreactors, a system normally used to produce drinking water.

City officials want to reach Oklahoma's ideal water quality standard of .037 milligrams per liter, rather than the compromise 1 milligram per liter discharge into Sager Creek, a tributary of Flint Creek that feeds the Illinois River.

The city plans to pay for the project through the Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund administered by the Arkansas Soil and Water Conservation Commission.

 A Fayetteville engineering firm also will assist in finding funds, according to a contract.

The federal government should help financially, according to Cameron, because it is an experimental project that could solve water quality issues throughout the nation by turning wastewater into nearly potable water.

If the plant is built to incorporate membrane technology, it will be the only municipal plant in Arkansas and Oklahoma using the technology, according to Steve Jones, project engineer with Garver Engineers.

About a month ago, Cameron and Mayor M.L. "Moose" Van Poucke spoke with federal officials who may be able to procure governmental funds.

"(The project) has to be extremely unique to warrant funding at this time," Cameron said, because money is tight in Washington because of the war.

Cameron also noted he was disappointed because the city missed deadlines for acquiring federal funding this year.

"They said we missed the appropriation window starting in April and May. We just missed it by four weeks," he said.