Wastewater Utility recognized for service

The Pine Bluff Wastewater Utility was recently recognized by a national organization for the quality of the treated water it discharges into the Arkansas River.

The National Association of Clean Water Agencies gave the PBWU its Gold Award for Peak Performance in October in recognition of it achieving 100 percent compliance with its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits in 2011.

“We were recognized for exceptional service and the outstanding quality of the wastewater that we treat,” said PBWU manager Ken Johnson. “We were one of only a very few jurisdictions that earned this award. This demonstrates the commitment, dedication and teamwork of our 50 employees towards this endeavor.”

Information provided by Johnson showed that the Little Rock Wastewater Utility was the only other water treatment utility in Arkansas serving a population of 50,000 or more inhabitants besides the PBWU to receive the Gold Award for 100 percent compliance.

Johnson noted that Fitch Ratings service maintained the AA- grade of Pine Bluff sewer revenue refunding bonds currently valued at $3.2 million in a report issued Nov. 2.

PBWU Commission

The PBWU Commission held its regular monthly meeting Monday morning to discuss several topics.

“We had a financial review and determined that the budget came in at $505,000 for the month,” Johnson said. “We are somewhere around 45 days from completion of the sewer line extension project on U.S. 63 south of Interstate 530 to Ridgway Road. We should see everything reach culmination by the second month of 2013.”

Johnson said that the PBWU is preparing its 2013 budget with a meeting scheduled for Dec. 27 to finalize it.

“The completion of the sewer extension project will allow for the commercial development of that area along U.S. 63 south of the interstate and down to Ridgway Road,” Johnson said. “Eventually, we are planning for the creation of a new sewer improvement district further south on (U.S.) 63 to 73rd Avenue. There are areas on the east side of U.S. 63 that currently don’t have sewer access. The project is still in the works and is many years down the line. It is part of our overall master plan to extend sewer service to all areas of Pine Bluff including along Barraque Street on the west side and along University Drive on the north side of town.”