Leader Blues

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

TOP STORY >>Treatment plant near Cabot gets opposition

Leader staff writer

A planned development of about 1,000 small homes less than two miles southeast of Cabot city limits has caught the attention of Cabot officials who could claim planning jurisdiction over the subdivision and insist that streets, water lines and
sewer lines meet city standards.

But the more pressing issue is sewage treatment. Developer Eutaw Hornton has asked the Arkansas Department of

Environmental Quality for a permit to build a sewage treatment plant to serve his subdivision.

The ADEQ has called a public hearing for 6 p.m., Monday, Jan. 7 at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in the Mt. Tabor Road area.

Already about 30 comments have been submitted to ADEQ, said spokesperson Kelly Robinson.

So it is certain that some residents will attend the meeting, but it is also likely that city officials will also be there.

Ann Russell, whose 40 acres adjoin the site of the proposed sewer treatment plant, says she estimates that as many as 100 residents and elected officials will attend the public hearing.

“I figure there are going to be a lot of people there: the (Cabot) mayor and city council, Representative (Lendel) Evans and
Senator (Bobby) Glover,” Russell said.

Russell said the relatively small size of the houses in the planned subdivision is a concern in an area where most houses
are large, but the greater concern is the sewer-treatment plant, which she thinks could bring down property values.

Russell said the Wattensaw Bayou, which will receive the treated water from the plant, doesn’t flow year round. She said she thinks more agencies like the state health department and the U.S. Corps of Engineers should weigh in on the proposed plant before it is approved.

Officials with Cabot Water-Works are reticent about the planned subdivision, saying only that they will offer whatever support they can. By current city policy, WaterWorks couldn’t provide sewer to a subdivision outside city limits even if that were the goal. But it also is true that the city council could change that policy and allow WaterWorks to add as many sewer customers as it can handle. And with a new $12 million sewer-treatment plant in operation for less than a month, it can handle a lot.

That the commission in charge of Cabot WaterWorks is concerned about a privately owned and operated sewer-treatment plant in its planning area was apparent during the last commission meeting. It is a situation that members said they intend to monitor closely.

For now, whether the commission will press the city council to change its policy and allow the extension of sewer service outside the city or even pursue annexation of the subdivision so the change in policy is not necessary are questions that are only being asked – not answered.