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Panel updated on water, sewer projects

Posted on November 30, 2016

Published by El Dorado News Times

By Tia Lyons

EL DORADO — Members of the El Dorado Water and Sewer Commission heard updates Tuesday on several ongoing projects by the El Dorado Water Utilities.

The group’s first order of business was to approve a bid of $415,103.98 for a recycled-water vacuum truck, ending months of discussion and demonstrations to replace EWU’s existing vac truck.

Employees previously said the EWU’s existing truck is in bad shape and often breaks down, causing delays for work crews.

EWU wastewater collection foreman Kenneth Robertson said Tuesday that he is looking forward to the delivery of the new truck.

Mark Smith, general manager of the water utilities, said the truck is expected to arrive in late February or early March.

Smith said one bid was submitted for the vacuum truck. The bid came from Super Products LLC.

Commissioner Bill Luther asked about the number of companies who considered bids, and Phyllis Waller, EWU administrative assistant, said she did not receive any other bid inquiries in response to published solicitations for bids.

Smith reported that work to move water lines on Arkansas 335 is expected to go bid next month.

The work is EWU’s portion of an overall project by the Arkansas Highways and Transportation Department to improve a five to six-mile section of the highway between U.S. 82 and Arkansas 7.

Smith said a local firm has been hired to take over the process of working with property owners to obtain easements along the route. The EWU began the work, which Smith said turned into a time-consuming endeavor.

He previously said the EWU identified 37 easements.

The estimated cost to relocate the water lines will be about $150,000 for the EWU, considering an 85 percent reimbursement expected from the AHTD.

A project to install new water and wastewater infrastructure to accommodate new businesses in Champagnolle business park is going smoothly, Smith said.

The work includes a water main extension with two separate water lines, fire protection and potable water, a two-inch, pressurized sanitary sewer main, grinder station and two large fire hydrants and a smaller hydrant.

Smith said 1,700-plus feet of 10-inch water line was laid in less than a week.

Buddy Kinney, director of operations for the EWU, said the EWU is awaiting the results of a second test sample from the Arkansas Department of Health.

The two prospects are the new headquarters for an existing business and a national distribution company (lighting and plumbing fixtures) with plans for a 25,000-square-foot facility that will start with approximately 15 employees, with an eye toward future expansion.

The water and wastewater project would also allow for future expansion in the park, which is just north of the Union County Shop road in the area of the park where the prospective businesses are looking to set up shop.

In August, the El Dorado Works Board and El Dorado City Council approved $79,100 to cover the cost of the project.

Smith said the architect for one of the business prospects set a deadline of Dec. 1 to complete the work.

“It’s either going to be Dec. 1 or very close to it,” Smith said.

The EWU is also working with Milam Construction to lay water and wastewater lines in anticipation of the $80-plus million project to develop a new arts and entertainment district in Downtown El Dorado.

Smith said the work for the EWU is estimated at $100,000, and he said part of the piping has been installed on South Hill.

“The next step is to turn on Pony and go toward the (Griffin Auto building),” Smith said. “It’s not our timing. We’re on their timing. We’re working with Milam Construction. They’re doing the digging, we’re laying the pipe, and they’re going back and filling it in.”

The massive arts and entertainment project, which is being implemented by El Dorado Festivals and Events, Inc., calls for a children’s playscape on 1.5 acres just south of First United Methodist Church on Hill Avenue.

The park will include water features, as well as dry play areas.

The Griffin Auto building, into which Jefferson tees on Locust, will be transformed into a cabaret, music hall and restaurant.

Commissioner Robert Rushing inquired about previous discussions about possibly including a pump station to accommodate the addition of restrooms in the basement of the Griffin Auto building.

“Have we alleviated that problem?” Rushing asked.

Smith said the nearly 100-year-old building has never had water or wastewater services in the basement.

A possible alternative to adding the lift station is connecting to a manhole that is underneath the Hillsboro viaduct, distance that is about 800 feet, Smith said.

“I can’t say we’ve solved the problem completely, but it looks promising,” Smith said.

Pete Parks, chairman of the water and sewer commission, asked if the manhole would be in the way of work that is planned by the AHTD to widen U.S. 82-B/Hillsboro through El Dorado.

The proposed work is said to include moving the bridge just north of its current spot.

If it proves to be in the way of construction, as long as it’s there first, it’s their problem,” Smith said, adding that “nothing is in writing” about the reported relocation of the bridge.

Mayor Frank Hash said the city’s director of public works, Robert Edmonds, had looked at the site and determined that the manhole cover is likely not within the proposed area of future construction.