Sewer repairs underway; watch for letters

Monticello residents may have noticed

smoke coming from the ground,

pipes and houses around town on and

off since August as Monticello Water

Works and the Arkansas Rural Water

Association were busy searching for

defects in the sewer lines in town with

a smoke machine that would show

them where the defects were.

Arkansas Rural Water Association,

with help from money provided by the

United Stated Department of Agriculture,

provides free technical assistance

to help public utilities cut down on

electric bills and to eliminate waste

in the system. Not sewer waste, but a

waste of resources when rainwater and

other ground water gets into the sewer

system and is treated at the sewer


Because the equipment is relatively

inexpensive, the city purchased their

own equipment and will be able to spot

check in the future.

While the goal of the project is to

fi nd where unnecessary water is getting

into the sewer system, the smoke

also notifi es the city which houses are

having plumbing issues and they are

then able to notify the homeowners.

Many times, homeowners don’t

know they have plumbing issues because

the pipes are under ground and

they can’t see the issues until more expensive

problems arise.

According to Mayor Paige Chase,

the city has been working to fi x the

problems on city property. But she also

is sending letters out to homeowners

who have issues on their property.

The risk to health, property and a

residents pocketbook is very real.

“That is a health risk so it helps the

residents, too,” said Poe. “I don’t have

solid estimates but just what we found

so far, after day two, about a $1000 a

month (savings) in utility costs for the


For the city it is the need to keep the

ground water and rain water out of the

sewer lines.

According to Chase, the city had to

do the smoke test because of all the

leaks in the sewer system. The leaks

were allowing ground water and debris

into the system and it all ended

up in the sewer ponds. Environmental

regulations dictate when and how the

ponds can be discharged according

to the amount of time the water was

held in the pond in order to be considered

clean or how much water is

in the creek the pond is discharged to.

If enough water is present the pond

is able to be discharged without an

issue, however if the water has to be

discharged early from fi lling up with

material that isn’t sewage, the city is

cited for environmental regulations

pertaining the sewage discharge.

If the water department and the water

association fi nd issues that is on a

residents property and the resident is

responsible for the repairs, the resident

will receive a letter in the mail that

tells them the problem, how to fi x it

and the when it must be fi xed.

According to Chase, the city has

contacted all local contractors they

are aware of to prepare them for the

repairs that need to be done. Letters

began going out Monday, July 27, informing

residents of the problems on

their property and gives them 45 days

to fi x the issue. If the issue is not fi xed

or is not in the process of being fi xed

within 45 days, the city will disconnect

the water to the residence.

“We don’t want to turn people’s water

off,” said Chase. “We have to get

this fi xed. This is the only way we can

do it. The last thing I wanted was to

have to ask residents to make repairs

during the current situation with the


However, the sewage pond issues

will not be fi xed until all the leaks in

the system are repaired.

Because of the amount of leaks

found so far in the system, Chase said

the city would be staggering the mailing

of letters in an effort to keep local

contractors from being overwhelmed

by the amount of work that needs to be

done throughout the city.

Chase stated in the City Council

meeting Tuesday that she has been

calling residents before the letters are

sent out to explain the situation.

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The Advance-Monticellonian

Mailing Address:
PO Box 486
Monticello, AR 71657

Street Address:
314 Main Street
Monticello, AR 71655

Phone: 870-367-5325

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