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Springdale Water Commission begins plans for expansion by 2025

by Laurinda Joenks | April 26, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.

SPRINGDALE -- The city plans to build water lines and storage tanks to keep up with demand on its growing west side.

Springdale Water Utilities by 2025 will need infrastructure to access a pumping station Beaver Water District is planning west of Interstate 49 and north of Interstate 612. The district also is targeting a 2025 completion date.

Beaver pumps water from its treatment plant on Beaver Lake to Springdale's tank farm on Fitzgerald Mountain on the city's eastern side. Springdale pumps the water from the tanks across the city and to its outlying customers of Lowell, Johnson and Elm Springs.

Brad Hammond of Olsson engineering firm last month presented the results of a study about Springdale's water needs in 2025 to the Water and Sewer Commission.

The initial plan recommends installing two, 48-inch water lines to connect to the Beaver Water pumping station and a series of graduated, smaller lines to distribute the water to the western portions of the city, Hammond said.

The city Planning Department staff over the past few months has worked with four developers wanting to build a total of more than 500 single-family homes in the northwestern quarter of town. Several multifamily developments also are in the works for the southwestern part.

Hammond said the project could cost as much as $28.2 million.

Heath Ward, executive director of Springdale Water Utilities, said building the western system in phases might allow the utility to cover the costs out of its operating budget or from cash reserves. He also plans to search for federal and state money, but ultimately the utility might have to float a bond program.

The utility last year started a five-year, incremental rate increase for all customers. The cost for every 1,000 gallons of water used after the first 1,500 gallons will increase 20 cents a year for each of the five years. The base rate for water service increased to $10 a month for that first 1,500 gallons. Ward said the utility doesn't want to go back to customers for more money for at least five years.

Ward said the city's system also needs stronger pressure to push the water into new areas of development. The initial plan for the western corridor project includes an elevated storage tank on Chapman Avenue in the southwest part of town, east of Interstate 49. The tank will boost water pressure in areas that experience low pressure at peak times, Hammond said.

Ward said the new infrastructure also would help the utility close a loop of main water lines around Springdale. This would allow the utility to reroute water if one area has an interruption in service. This would ensure customers receive safe water, Ward said.

Springdale has used as much as 34 million gallons of water in one day, Hammond said last month. That peak demand is expected to rise to 39 million gallons by 2025, according to his study.

The Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission projects Springdale with a population of 105,000 in 2030 and 130,000 in 2040.

Lane Crider, chief executive of Beaver Water, said studies for his utility's 2015 long-range plan expected the need for this pumping station by 2032. A Springdale study two years ago found the city wouldn't have enough water supply to meet expected demand if the pipeline is not available by 2026.

Crider said study results have been similar for other cities in Northwest Arkansas.

"We began engineering almost immediately," Crider said. He noted the engineers expect to present the design to the Beaver Water District Board in the next couple of months.

All the cities in Northwest Arkansas, as well as Beaver Water District, have included improvements to the western water distribution as part of long-range plans, based on projected population estimates and development of the western sides of all the cities, Crider said.

A 60-inch water main will bring the water from Beaver Water's treatment plan to the new distribution center, where cities will hook on, Hammond said.

The projected cost for the Beaver Water project is $88 million, Crider said.

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