The US EPA, Department of Justice, and the state of Arkansas started 2015 with an announcement that the City of Fort Smith will upgrade it’s sewer collection and treatment system over the next 12 years.
This upgrade is intended to reduce discharges of raw sewage and other pollutants in local waterways. Fort Smith is reportedly notorious for it’s more than 2000 discharges of untreated sewage since 2004, into local waterways including the Arkansas River.
To solve the long-observed problem, Fort Smith will conduct a comprehensive assessment of it’s sewer system to identify defects and places where Stormwater may be entering the system. The city will also repair all pipe segments and manholes that are likely to fail in the next ten years.
The implementation of this proposal will reduce thousands of airborne pollutants each year, which are risking the health of the surrounding community.
Keeping raw sewage and contaminated storm water out of USA waters is one of the EPA’s National Enforcement Initiatives, and the department hopes to achieve it’s goals by obtaining commitments from cities to implement timely, affordable solutions.
This proposed City of Fort Smith, Arkansas settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.
Observing this commitment from an infrastructure asset management viewpoint it is encouraging to see the City of Fort Smith reaching agreement with the State and US EPA to resolve these long standing issues.
As a result of the defect identification and remediation process they are undertaking they will build a reasonably comprehensive knowledge of their assets, and the condition of those assets.
This knowledge and information will be able to be leveraged into comprehensive infrastructure management planning that will allow the establishment of long term sustainable programs for the on-going management of Fort Smith’s sewer collection and treatment system.
Details of the announcement could be read through the EPA Press Release.