Fix may be coming for collapsing West Memphis sewer system


WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — Some big improvements could be in the works for the West Memphis sewer system if its city council approves a $30 million bond issue.

The city plans are to upgrade the system that’s now collapsing and causing major street damage.

“It’s going to be the best thing for the city of West Memphis because the citizens shouldn’t have to deal with this,” West Memphis Mayor Marco McClendon said.

McClendon pointed to a sinkhole on Jefferson Avenue is one of many across town caused by the city’s aging sewer system.

“It’s something that should have been done a long time ago, but right now it fell into my lap and I’m not going to push it to the side,” he said.

Thursday, the West Memphis Utility Commission briefed McClendon and city council members on a $30 million capital improvement plan to upgrade the city’s existing sewer system and water treatment facilities.

Improvements would greatly impact how quickly storm water would be able to drain from city streets — a problem that often occurs during heavy downpours.

Updating and adding additional pumps at the city’s wastewater treatment plant would allow for an increase in water flow of 12 to 18 million gallons.

McClendon says citizens will see a slight increase in their water bills if the bond issue passes.

At least one resident said she doesn’t mind paying a little more each month if it means the sewer system will be fixed, the flooding will stop and the streets won’t keep caving in.

“I been preaching all the time we need this taken care of,” Doris Johnson said.

The West Memphis city council could vote on the bond issue sometime in October.

This isn’t the only project underway in West Memphis: two new fire stations, new court facilities, a police substation and a new library are currently under construction.

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