Leader Blues

Monday, July 30, 2007

TOP STORY >>Priorities in Cabot

By JOAN MCCOY
Leader staff writer

The members of Cabot Water and Wastewater Commission spent two hours Thursday night discussing the progress of various projects.

Projects include the new sewer treatment plant, the North Belt transmission line to connect to Central Arkansas Water, buying land for a headquarters for Cabot WaterWorks and moving administration temporarily into the old Community Bank building the city is buying.

But also on the agenda was discussion of two topics that the members said were certain to be controversial – a five-mile planning area around the city for water and not extending sewer at this time to development west of Highway 5 beyond the commercial development in Greystone.

The commission is considering holding developers in the planning area to the same standards for water lines as developers inside city limits.

And since other water providers, like the city of Ward and Bayou Two Water Association, operate in part of that planning area it is inevitable that Cabot WaterWorks could be in the position of setting the standards for pipes that another provider will run its water through.

Commissioners say they hope Cabot WaterWorks will someday serve all Cabot residents. To do that would mean buying out their competitors and replacing small water lines with lines large enough to fight fires.

So far, no other water provider’s lines have been purchased, but by enforcing a five-mile planning area, the commission wouldn’t have to replace lines in new subdivisions if that time ever comes.

When the commission took control of water and wastewater almost two years ago, the city had already allowed a 50-acre commercial development on Highway 5 to run its sewer line into the line that carries sewage from Greystone to the treatment plant.

The extra burden was causing problems in Greystone until a pump station was beefed up as a short-term fix.

Crist Engineers has been hired to work on plans for a permanent remedy. In the meantime, the commission has instructed Tim Joyner, WaterWorks manager, to tell the owners of the commercial development that they have almost reached the 250-gallons per minute that they and the commission agreed to and they will not be allowed to exceed the agreed upon amount.
The commission agreed that a planned complex with a nursing home and apartments for assisted living will not be allowed to tie into the Greystone line.

Bill Cypert, commission secretary, said the commission isn’t opposed to growth, but they will not allow new development to take up the sewer capacity that Greystone developers have already paid for.

Cypert reported that construction of the sewer treatment plant is on schedule and expected to be in operation by January.
The North Belt transmission line is expected to be completed by 2011, but the route of the line is still not known. The water line is supposed to parallel the North Belt Freeway and that route is still undetermined. If the route is through Camp Robinson, the cost savings would be about $1.5 million each for Cabot, Jacksonville and CAW and about $500,000 for North Pulaski Water Association.