Construction begins on Viola sewer system

Photo: Councilman Dennis Harber, Mayor Jackie Estes and John Selig with Civil Engineering Associates, discuss the plans for the city’s sewer project in this 2019 photo. Photo: Courtesy Areawide Media

Construction has begun on Viola’s sewer system project.

Areawide Media reports Mayor Jackie Estes told the council late last month the contractor has begun work at the treatment plant site; the land has been cleared of all the timber and excavation would begin in a few days.

Mayor Estes said the contractor installing the sewer lines has started construction on Ash Street, working toward Big Creek.

He said North Arkansas Electric Cooperative plans to construct the three-phase power line to the treatment plant beginning soon after the first of the year. It was also noted the city has completed installing a new water line to service the sewer treatment plant.

Mayor Estes asks people to expect some minor inconveniences, as the work on the sewer lines continues for several months. There will be times parts of a street will be temporarily closed to traffic.

Areawide Media advised in early 2019, talk of a sewer system for Viola has been around for decades.

But it wasn’t until Mayor Estes invited John Selig, P.E., with Civil Engineering Associates, LLC of Jonesboro, to a council meeting in December 2013, concrete work began on the project.

Estes said city officials talked about installing a sewer system in the city during the 1960s and again in the late 1980s to early 1990s, but was heavily opposed by the residents.

In January 2014, 160 residents were mailed information regarding a proposed sewer system and asked to give their opinion. Three reasons a sewer system would benefit the city were given:

• Failing septic systems present health and safety issues.

• A need for additional housing in Viola, but many properties cannot be developed due to unsuitable ground conditions for a septic system.

• Without a sewer system, it is difficult for the town to experience economic growth.

With 75% of those who returned information being in support of a sewer system, the Viola City Council authorized Civil Engineering Associates to develop preliminary plans.

Grants and loans were discussed as ways to help fund the project, but it was evident something more was needed. The council began discussing a special election to implement a 1% sales tax in the city to support the project.

In September 2015, a special election was held for the sales tax. The sales tax passed by 70%.

Two years later, funds were ready to be used on the project with an estimated cost at that time of $3.6 million.

The system will have 160 to 165 residential and commercial customers.

The treatment plant will be located off of Arkansas Highway 223 South, on Ash Street along Big Creek. Approximately five to six lift stations will be placed throughout Viola.

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